Established in the early 1800s, Stanley’s streetscape is lined with genteel, colonial buildings and fine cafés. Stanley is Circular Head’s premier tourism town and a walk down the main street is akin to walking through living history.
Stanley was the base for Van Diemen’s Land Company operations in the region. The VDL Co. itself began in 1825 by Royal Charter under King George IV, who granted the company rights to a huge tract of unsettled land in North West Tasmania.
When a run-down abalone far became available on Tasmania’s far north west coast, these enterprising mates jumped at the opportunity to create their very own boutique operation. Nestled behind The Nut at Stanley, the site offered the space they needed right alongside the pristine waters of Bass Strait. “It is a long way from anywhere here – isolated, beautiful and the marine life is just fantastic,” explains Joel. “Whilst a lot of the existing infrastructure was very run down, that allowed us to purchase the farm at an affordable price. We then set about rebuilding the tanks and replumbing. We basically started afresh with our entire focus on creating products of the highest integrity.”
Southern Australia is famed for these fleshy gastropod delights, and nowhere more so than in Tasmania. Three Friends Abalone raises three different abalone species; black lip, west coast and tiger abalone – all carefully nurtured by the pristine waters of Tassie’s west coast. Black lip abalone, with its distinctive dark band along the edge of its shell, is particularly sought after for its creamy, delicate flesh. It’s a gourmet delight prized for its sweet and salty – or umami – taste.
More than three million tiny charges are carefully watched over at Three Friends Abalone. The process begins with the natural spawning of brood stock and the selection of the strongest larvae. After feasting on algae in the nursery, the abalone will grow to a couple of centimetres in size before then being introduced to a special cereal-based diet.
An impressive series of immaculately maintained pools, continuously refreshed with wild west coast waters, provide the perfect home for the abalone. Joel, Shane and Tom must care for their charges for two to three years before carefully hand harvesting and preparing them for processing. It is then straight from here to dining tables and restaurants across the globe.
Underpinning the transformation of this unique farm is a genuine respect for the natural world. “We’ve designed our farming methods to be in sync with the natural cycles of the ocean,” explains Joel. “What we do mimics nature and we can ensure our produce is free from anything that wouldn’t naturally be found in the sea. We’ve worked hard to create some of the most environmentally sound aquaculture practices in the world. Here in Tassie our power is 100% renewable, plus the help and support from the local community has been just outstanding. Stanley has a terrific community spirit.”
“Our abalone is cleaned and ready to eat, so it’s ready for anyone to enjoy at home,” explains Joel. “It’s hard to beat that smooth, salty sweet flavour. There’s really nothing else like it.”
A 425g can of Three Friends Abalone can be delivered straight to your door, and you’ll be pleased to know it requires minimal cooking. It is best consumed when just warmed through, although can also be eaten cold. Grab a taste of what the cleanest air in the world and the cool waters of the wild west coast can produce via the Three Friends Abalone website.