© Maria Nieves Castejon Camargue Coquillages
[PORTRAIT VIDEO]

Maria Nieves Castejon

shellfish farmer in the Camargue

Maria Nieves Castejon produces oysters in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, in the Camargue. She tells us how this adventure started, how Provence inspires her in her everyday life and how “Camargue Coquillages” is part of an eco-responsible approach. Interview.

How did your shellfish farm project start?

Camargue  Coquillages” started in 2000. Before that, Franck Castejon, my husband, was a shellfish picker. I was working in Spain, where I was in charge of a company marketing seafood products. He was one of our suppliers and that’s how we met. I arrived in the Camargue, in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. We started up our company and began building a pond for shellfish purification. We work with countries like Spain, Belgium, Holland, etc.

So what is Provence for you?

Since we work with the sea, that’s what is important for us in Provence. The sea in which we live every day and that we want to protect with our resources.

And what is the ideal shellfish for you?

If there is an ideal shellfish, it has to be the oyster. Oysters, and of course ours which are also organic, are the pearl of Camargue! Eat them raw as we do in the morning when we go down to the sea: fresh out of the water, they’re incredible!

How does the way you produce oysters stand out from the others?

We work in a really fragile environment. We’ve seen the evolution of the sea and how the climate is changing. We wanted to adapt to the environment rather than the contrary. We wanted to set up an organic farm, to be able to work in harmony with nature and our values. Where virtuous practices are concerned, we’ve set up a whole recycling system. We recycle all the ropes, nets, plastics and pieces of wood. We’ve set up a partnership with a Spanish company and they make spectacle frames with all our leftover plastic. The result of recycling is real!

And if you had to summarize Provence in one word?

If I had to summarize Provence in one word… That’s a bit difficult! But in two words: nature and wild.

We’ve set up a farm visit. A good opportunity to discover all aspects of oyster farming. It ends with a great tasting. We hope you’ll come and discover it.

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