Goolwa Pipi Co.’s sustainable shuffle: From Ocean to Plate

FIFTY+SA Food Editor, Mandy Hall, gives us the sustainable scoop on Goolwa Pipi Co and a flavour-bomb recipe by Soi. 38's Terry Intarakhamhaeng.

WORDS: Mandy Hall, Food Editor

Goolwa Pipi Co. was founded in 2014 by a group of multi-generational fishing families committed to a deep sense of responsibility and respect for the ocean. With a long history of working within local fishing communities and understanding marine ecosystems, they began experimenting with different techniques to ensure the most sustainable way of harvesting the Goolwa Pipi – a small, edible bivalve found along the wild and untamed coast of the Coorong.

Utilising ‘The Pipi Shuffle’ – the sometimes dangerous hand-and-net harvesting method developed by the Ngarrangjeri people thousands of years ago – the pipis are brought to the surface in a process which does not harm the environment nor impact the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. 

The Ngarrindjeri people have a deep spiritual and cultural connection to the land and waters of the Coorong. This country – with its vast system of ocean, lagoons, swamps, and wetlands stretching along Australia’s southern coast – is their country. For the Ngarrindjeri people, the Coorong has been a spiritual home and source of cultural identity for thousands of years, their existence deeply intertwined with the land and waters. 

Their official partnership with Goolwa Pipi Co. in 2019 was cause for true celebration, and after 19,000 years of being on country, the Kuti Co crew joined the Goolwa Pipi Co. family which comprises of Hoad’s Fisheries, a third-generation family owned fishing company and Goolwa Pipi Co. Harvesting Company, all experienced and courageous crews that battle the elements together. I can tell you firsthand that there’s nothing more awe inspiring than the sight of legs bulging with rock hard muscle from shuffling in that wild ocean day in and day out, the dedicated crews are simply phenomenal. 

This mighty union enabled the sharing of stories and knowledge with each other, the exchange of ideas and learning from each other’s experiences have led to exceptional partnerships.

Harvesting Pipi involves no technology. Instead, crews are bound by tides and tradition, setting off in the darkness for the wild waters of the Coorong armed with rakes and buckets. Enduring dangerously rough seas and neck-high waves, they make their way by foot out into the ocean, and spend hours plunging their rakes into the water to bring the Pipis to the surface. Constant twisting in the sand and hoisting the Pipis clear of the water is exhausting work, but also incredibly rewarding. 

As they brave the elements, they witness the breathtaking diversity and beauty of life in the Coorong – schools of fish darting through the water, flocks of birds swooping overhead and the occasional dolphin or seal breaking the water’s surface to say hello. 

Having gained global recognition and international certification for their sustainable practices, Goolwa Pipi Co. has expanded their business and today markets across Australia are clamouring for their sustainably sourced product, which has a deliciously sweet and nutty flavour.

Regularly featured on menus across the country, many hatted Chefs laud our pipis for their ability to transform a dish. However, they are equally delicious doused in olive oil and chilli and thrown on a barbecue. Pipis pair beautifully with so many ingredients and are easy to use – no wonder our love affair with these little South Australian icons shows no sign of slowing.

For Goolwa Pipi Co., it has never been about simply producing a product. It’s about preserving a way of life and a precious natural resource, working hand in hand with the environment, its custodians and community to create something truly special – a business that is not only sustainable but also deeply rooted in the land, waters and rich history of the Coorong.

If you ever find yourself at Goolwa, make sure to head into the very popular and incredibly well positioned Kuti Shack and enjoy a bowl of the freshest pipis, caught quite literally in the ocean that’s gazing right back at you. Or… go to your nearest stockist, grab yourself some Goolwa Pipi Co. pipis and try this flavour bomb of a recipe by well-known SA Chef, Terry Intarakhamhaeng, there’s also the option of heading into Soi 38 where this Executive Chef and co-owner just might make them for you!

Chilli Jam Pipis with Salted Soybeans

Serves: 2
Prep Time:
10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time:
20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp chilli jam
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp salted soybeans
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock or water
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 500g Goolwa PipiCo pipis
  • 2 cups Thai basil leaves
  • ½ cup spring onion cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 long red chilli, sliced

Method

  1. In a wok on medium heat to make the sauce, heat the oil, then add garlic and onion. Gently fry. Add chilli jam, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, salted soybeans, stock or water and white pepper. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the Goolwa pipis and toss.
  3. Cover and leave until the pips have opened and the flesh looks cooked.
  4. Add Thai basil, spring onion and chilli and stir through. Season and serve.

Goolwa Pipi Co.

50 Hill Street, Port Elliot 

goolwapipico.com | @goolwapipico

Kuti Shack

Main Beach Car Park, Goolwa Beach 

kutishack.com | @kuti_shack

Soi. 38 Regional Thai Restaurant

74 Pirie Street, Adelaide

soi38.com.au | @soi.38

  • Staff Writer

    Made up of a small, tight knit team of writers and contributors who are passionate about all things FIFTY+ and the New Age. We love Adelaide and wider South Australia and sharing with you all of the l...

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We would like to acknowledge the Kaurna people as the custodians of the lands and waters of the Adelaide region.

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