Favis of Salcombe Ltd
Torr Quarry Industrial Estate, East Allington, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 7QQ
If you were trying to find the freshest crab, sustainably fished from the finest waters and shipped from pot to plate in record time - handpicked along the way - then you couldn’t do better than discovering the Favis family of Salcombe’s setup.
For they have been cracking crab since 1972, have an encyclopaedic knowledge of their fishing waters and have teamed up recently with chef Tom Bunn to provide customers with a top quality product from experts in the field of shellfish production.
Celebrity Chef Mitch Tonks is among one of their happy customers, who uses nothing but Favis crab in his award-winning Dartmouth restaurant The Seahorse - and in his newly-opened Brixham Rockfish.
“I have eaten crab all over the world and I think the crab from South Devon is undoubtedly the best I have ever tasted,” he says. “I am a great believer in that crab meat needs to be as fresh as it possibly can be and so that’s why we use Favis crab - you can’t beat it: picked properly and eaten as fresh as it can be.”
For customers the hand-picking aspect is a dream: all that hard, finickity, sticky, crunchy, twiddly, crunching-fingers crab stripping is done for you. No more worries about dead men’s fingers or the like. Just the finest, freshest lobster and crab, straight from the South Devon seas.
The family work well, and closely, together. Every day the crabber travels over 30 miles into the English Channel to tend to 2000 crab pots and haul the catch.
“We are a family business and have been producing our Cracking Crab since 1972 so we have a wealth of experience in the industry. Our father Keith founded the business, he was a lorry driver who traded it in for a ﬁshing boat in 1972 and our business developed from there,” says Pippa Favis.
The present-day team comprises two brothers, Kevin and Nigel, his wife Pippa, niece Laura and son Sam. They all work together and “still get along brilliantly, sharing ideas and laughs,” insists Pippa.
“Life in the ﬁshing industry is certainly a hard one and although some of the cold winter mornings can chill you to the bone we still thrive on its challenges.”
The family were working well as a team and bringing in good catches for the local market when they decided, a few years ago, to explore the export market too. They now send crab predominantly into mainland China, export 10 tonnes a week and are the largest exporter of Crab and Lobster in the South West.
Chef Tom Bunn who overseas the cooking and handpicking in their unit in the South Hams, explains the appeal of their ‘fresh is best’ processing: “Crab’s flavour is at it’s very best if it’s cooked the day it comes in, chilled very quickly and hand picked - and the vacuum sealing it keeps that flavour and the freshness in,” he says.
The speed of transition is key. Hauling the pots and landing the catch is just the beginning of the day for the team at Favis. Once ashore the fresh crab is rushed straight to their picking unit where it is hand picked by a bespoke team, vacuum packed, distributed to local restaurants and businesses - and some sent straight to some of the finest eateries in the capital city.
“Doing it this way produces some of the ﬁnest, freshest prime Crabmeat available to businesses and restaurants in Devon and the UK,” explains Pippa.
“We are really proud of our team, our family and our product. From the seabed to the plate can take less than eight hours and you really couldn’t get much fresher than that.”
The team have recently launched an online shop so thanks to the power of the internet anyone, anywhere, can enjoy the Favis cracking crab experience and they have in the pipeline plans for their own Youtube channel with cracking crustacean videos and ‘how to’ recipes.
As Nigel Favis notes: “The South Devon Crab is renowned to be the best in the UK, it is outstanding quality. It’s looked after very well, it’s not out of water for very long so it’s not getting stressed.”
And it is the 14 tonne tank on their beloved Emma Jane that is the key to that, ensuring perfect, fresh crab and lobster every time. For more information please visit Favis of Salcombe on favis-os.com
Watch our clip at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJUmqwhy2dk