Our business began to take shape after the ending of the second world war, when Richard Pinney decided he had had enough of London and headed for the countryside.
He found a derelict cottage just outside Orford next to the Butley Creek on the Suffolk coast. He began to look for ways of making a living and turned his attention to the river, where he set about restoring oyster beds that had lain derelict. Oysters had been cultivated here for centuries and had a fine reputation but the trade had died down at the end of the 19th Century. He started laying down oysters from Portugal, which grew and fattened very well, and the oyster business began despite being warned by local fishermen, that if you want to lose all of your money, oysters was a good way of doing it!
At the same time, being a keen fisherman, he caught some large sea trout off Orford beach. Not knowing what to do with it, he began experimenting with smoking in a disused outhouse at the end of the cottage. The results were so good that he decided to buy some salmon, and the smoking business began from there. He developed a unique system of burning whole oak logs, a system which has been refined but hardly changed to this day.
In the mid 60’s he decided to open a small restaurant for people to try these products and so the Butley Orford Oysterage began. In the fifty or so years since then it has remained a family business, still run by Bill and Janet Pinney and the next generation, Jodie and George Pinney.
The Restaurant has moved to larger premises, we have a shop overlooking Orford Quay, which sells our full range of fresh and smoked fish, and we run two commercial fishing boats that land fresh daily catches of soles, bass, cod, skate, lobsters and crabs according to the season.
The smokehouses are still situated at Butley Creek near to the oyster beds. Trout, mackerel, cod roe, wild and farmed salmon, kippers and eels are among the products that are smoked every day for the shop, restaurant, our deliveries to farm shops and retailers and orders that can be delivered to your doorstep by next day delivery.