A Narooma oyster farm has won a gold medal in the country's most prestigious food industry campaign.
The Wagonga branch of Australia's Oyster Coast Appellation Oysters received the accolade as part of the delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards, which celebrate the country's best produce.
Some of Australia's most renowned chefs and critics chose the 18 trophy and 61 gold medals awards.
"The awards celebrate the country's new, innovative, native and consistently outstanding Australian ingredients grown, caught, sourced or produced with dedication, passion, knowledge and regard for the environment," an event spokesperson said.
Wagonga farm manager Brendon Limon was humbled by the award.
He said it was the first time their branch had entered, and he was grateful a chef acknowledged them through the nomination to start with.
The category, "from the sea" attracted 14 other gold medalists from Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales, including fishers, lobster, abalone, pipis, mussels, caviar, crab and octopus farmers.
"I felt like a winner just to be nominated," Mr Limon said.
Mr Limon described himself as a new kid on the block with five years' oyster farming experience.
Yet the pearl of passion didn't take long to grow.
The Narooma man was grateful for the mentorship of a previous teacher, who had worked in the industry for 30 years.
He thanked his team, including his wife, Tisha, for their dedication.
"We strive for a really high quality with everything we do," Mr Limon said.
"It's not just myself and Tisha; our team of workers are very hard-working and passionate about producing high-quality and delicious oysters.
"We're extremely fortunate at Narooma with our pristine water."
He said Narooma was full of passionate oyster farmers, and he was proud of the whole community for their commitment to quality produce.
Tathra Oysters 5 Year Old Bistro Grade, Mimosa Rock Oysters The Boxer and Wapengo Rocks Wild Organic Oysters Premium Grade were also gold medalists.
Harvey Norman executive chairman Gerry Harvey said the award winners should be considered "a shopping list of sorts".
"We now know who they are and what they produce, so it is up to us to do our homework," Mr Harvey said.
"Find out who they supply and where are they stocked.
"This year has found us all with more time at home; time that is being spent in the kitchen, time to plan what we are cooking and where we will source our produce from.
"If we take the time to source the produce of this year's winners we will taste the difference in our cooking and what we share with the family."
Kerrie McCallum, delicious. editorial director said the awards importantly recognised the people behind the produce.
"Following drought, bushfires, flood, then scaling back production due to Covid-19, there's never been a more important time to acknowledge just how hard Australian farmers, fishermen and artisans work at their craft," Ms McCallum said.
The full list of winners is presented in the November 2020 issue of delicious. and on delicious.com.au/produceawards.
Australia's Oyster Coast is an Australian company with shareholders including oyster growers who operate across 13 estuaries along the NSW East Coast.
Appellation Oysters is a premium grading program designed for the identification and selection of the best quality oysters available on any given day.