Photographie des huîtres du producteur Fonteneau

[From the sea to the plate] Oyster farming in Marennes-Oléron: treat your customers with Fonteneau oysters

Mis à jour le
18 January 2020
For almost 50 years, Fonteneau has excelled in oyster farming, to the delight of oyster lovers. With no less than 23 awards to its credit, including 14 at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris, the family business is renowned for its know-how. From the sea to your plates, discover the route of the Fonteneau oysters...

Passionate oyster farmers, awarded several times over

It was in 1970 when the oyster farm Fonteneau was created, under the direction of François Fonteneau, who had shaped the estate over the years, before passing the torch to his daughter, Christelle and son-in-law, Nicholas Werkhoven.

Former senior executives, Christelle and Nicholas, plunged head first into this large saltwater bath! If they had not imagine they would ever evolve in this world, their job as oyster farmers proved the opposite and turned be a real passion.

And it is with talent that they exercise it, as proved by the 23 awards won over the years, including 14 at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris.

It must be said that in nearly 50 years of experience, Fonteneau has developed a real know-how that allows the company to control the entire production cycle of its oysters, on its two production sites.

The first, the cradle of the establishment, is located in the heart of the preserved environment of Marennes-Oléron in France, the largest oyster farming basin in Europe; the second, south of the Bay of Morlaix, in Brittany.

Aerial view of the oyster farm on the island of Oléron

Oyster production site on the island of Oléron


What is oyster farming?

Oyster farming, where its cultivation requires constant human investment and long-term work: at least 3 years are required before they can be tasted!

How are Fonteneau oysters grown?

At Fonteneau, the first years of an oyster's life begins off the coast of the island of Oleron. It all starts with a spat collection, which consists in providing a support on which oyster larvaes can attach themselves.

After being lifted from their collectors, oysters are moved from one park to another throughout their growth phase in order to benefit from various marine currents and varieties of food.

The location of the parks in the open sea plays a predominant role in obtaining a fleshy oyster. For 3 years, oysters are handled about 300 times!

Two oyster farmers leaving an oyster production site

Oyster farmers handling oysters on the production site


Several times, they are calibrated, placed in pockets with adapted mesh sizes (to ensure optimal filtering of the food) and of course, the shape of their shell is worked.

Finally, a careful selection process is carried out before maturing, exclusively on the island of Oleron.

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Why are the oysters green?

The crucial maturing stage lasts 28 days minimum and is based on a careful balance of natural elements, between land and sea.

It aims to improve the taste quality of oysters and give them their characteristic green colour. This is achieved through the presence of the blue navicle, a microscopic algae that produces marennine, a blue-green pigment.

The magic works within the 27 hectares of clearings; these shallow settling basins fill and empty with the tides. The water is less salty and richer in plankton.

It’s because of this, the fine oyster of claire take their name: from the place where they were refined!

Photograph of an open oyster with a white and green colour

"Fine de Claire Label Rouge" from Fonteneau combines whiteness and greenness of the gills, testimony of its greening in Claire.


Fonteneau oysters: renowned products, available on the ProcSea platform

Fonteneau offers the typical range of Marennes-Oléron as well as unique oysters, resulting from its expertise. This diversity allows you to succumb to all the desires of oysters, both raw and cooked.

  • The fine oyster of claire Marennes-Oléron. Juicy and not very fleshy, it is very appreciated by consumers who like the iodized taste of the sea.
  • The fine oyster of clear green Marennes-Oléron Label Rouge. This top-of-the-range oyster has the particularity of presenting a white flesh and gills of an intense greenness (testimony of its greening in light). Slightly more fleshy than the fine de claire, it is rich in water and balanced in flavours.
  • The special oyster of claire Marennes-Oléron. It is distinguished from the fine de claire by a more consistent flesh plus the perfectly balanced sweetness and salinity.
  • The special oyster Fonteneau - La Réserve/strong>. This premium oyster, the result of 40 years of expertise, is the outcome of numerous selections based on a very strict quality criteria, such as flesh content, texture and shape. Its unique sweet taste leaves a nutty flavour in the mouth.

Oyster farmer Fonteneau opens an oyster of his production at a trade show.

During a trade show, oyster farmer Fonteneau introduces his Marennes-Oléron oysters.

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