Pinney’s of Orford; a family-run business for over 70 years | Barbury Hill

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Pinney’s of Orford; a family-run business for over 70 years

Smoked Fish from Pinney's of Orford available on Barbury Hill

Few of Barbury Hill’s British producers can lay claim to a history as long as Pinney’s of Orford. For over 70 years, they’ve been cultivating oysters on the beautiful Suffolk coast, and while they’ve certainly expanded since those early days, they remain a small, family-run business. Barbury Hill was privileged to spend time with Bill Pinney and the team, learning all about this small British producer and their incredible smoked fish, oysters and pâtés.

From cultivating oysters to smoking fish

As we watched Bill tend his lobster pots, he told us the story of how Pinney’s of Orford came to be. Of how, in search of a new life in the country, Richard Pinney had set off from London to Suffolk just after the Second World War. A derelict cottage next to the Butley Creek turned out to be the perfect spot, providing not only accommodation but inspiration for what would soon turn into a thriving business.

Butley Creek, home to Pinney's of Orford - Barbury Hill  Bill Pinney with lobster pots at Butley Creek

The area Richard stumbled upon had once been famed for its oysters but, just like the cottage, the beds had been left to become derelict. Not one to run from a challenge, Richard set about restoring the oyster beds, laying down oysters from Portugal and returning the area to the former glories of the 19th century. As his oysters fattened, Richard fished. He caught large sea trout off Orford beach and began to experiment with smoking it in one of the cottage’s outhouses. Such was his success that he bought some salmon and developed a unique method of burning whole oak logs. While his technique may have been tweaked and perfected since then, it remains largely the same to this day.

Today, Pinney’s is run by Richard’s son, Bill and his wife Janet, along with the next generation, Jodie and George. While the business has expanded to include a restaurant and a shop overlooking Orford Quay, Bill is still out and about on the boats, or tending his oyster beds. And he still lives in the cottage his father stumbled across all those years ago, and where it all began.

From Oysters to Hand-sliced Scottish Salmon

Barbury Hill is proud to feature a wide range of Pinney’s of Orford’s delectable smoked fish, oysters and hampers. We particularly love the Smoked Fish Selection Box, which allows us to whip up a show-stopping lunch with minimal effort. Featuring Freedom Farmed Smoked Salmon, Smoked Mackerel, Smoked Trout, Hot smoked Salmon and Smoked Prawns, it’s a standout star guaranteed to get your lunch guests talking.

Smoked Fish Selection Box by Pinneys of Orford available on Barbury Hill  Smoked Fish from Pinney's of Orford available on Barbury Hill

If the weather allows, you can turn a picnic into an altogether more elegant al fresco dining experience with The Coastal Picnic Hamper. No sandy sandwiches to be seen. And for a particularly special occasion, The Luxury Hamper is a real head-turner. If there’s a proposal in the planning, we’d put money on this memorable picnic spread laying the foundations for a resounding ‘Yes’!

Coastal Picnic Hamper by Pinney's of Orford available on Barbury Hill  Luxury Picnic Hamper by Pinney's of Orford available on Barbury Hill

But to go back to where it all began, a platter of oysters direct from the Butley Creek brings a taste of the briny sea to your home. We’ve been known to treat ourselves to a simple oyster supper on a Friday evening, complemented with a glass of something crisp from another Suffolk producer, Giffords Hall. However you enjoy yours, a dozen oysters is an affordable luxury that invariably lifts the spirits.

A dozen fresh English Oysters by Pinney's of Orford available on Barbury Hill  Shucking oyters | Barbury Hill

Order from Barbury Hill for delivery across the UK, sent by overnight courier within two working days of your order.

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Tor Saner, Product & Marketing, Barbury Hill

 by Tor Saner, Product & Marketing

Tor ensures our platform and product selection is as good as it can be and is always on the lookout for delicious hidden gems.  Tor has eaten her way around the globe and loves nothing more than a glass of chilled Rosé in the sunshine with friends.