Simpson Snails' founder, Helene Hawes, spent her childhood in France and moved to Australia as a teenager. She travelled back to France several times with her husband, Denis, so as to visit snail farms, with a view to implementing the latest and best methods here in South Western Victoria. Her methods and knowledge have been transferred to Nadine Pears, the current owner.
Large garden beds have been prepared for the snails who happily live in their little 'dongas' once they come out of hibernation in spring.
We have an igloo in which we cultivate seeds to grow suitable crops for the snails, which we put out into our paddock once they are mature. The snails seem to be happiest out in the open air, in a natural environment.
Snails are hermaphrodites, and so can be male or female in the reproduction cycle:
Each snail can produce around 100 – 200 eggs at a time, some 3 weeks after mating. Once hatched, baby snails are independent and fully formed;
They hibernate for up to 4 months during winter;
Snails take around 8 – 9 months to become mature.
once mature, snails are removed from the paddock, put in feeding crates where they are fed a diet of bran and/or oats; they are then fasted or purged for a few days so as to empty they stomachs;
Snails are then blanched, removed from their shells, packed and frozen.
snails are historically a French dish, now adapted around the world;
snails are high in protein and contain no fat, no sugars, no cholesterol;
Snails have a low impact on the natural environment.
A snail takes about twelve months to reach maturity and harvest size, living on a diet of green fodder and a specially-mixed supplement.
We are open for people who want a tour of the farm, although during winter, our snails are in hibernation, and we also do tastings throughout the year. You can also purchase snails while you are here.
Come to our cafe at the Simpson Hotel and have a tour and a taste!