By Jennifer Smith
A fish farm has become the first in Britain to produce and sell caviar after its owners began breeding sturgeon and harvesting their eggs.
The Exmoor Caviar Farm in Devon had its first full harvest just two weeks ago, but has already sold samples to celebrity chefs and top London restaurants.
Owners, Kenneth Benning and Pat and George Noble came up with the idea after spotting a gap in the luxury market.
Mr Benning, founder of the Exmoor Caviar Company, said: 'The farm has been around for 14 years and was run by George and Pat Noble selling ornamental sturgeon.
'When I discovered it I approached them and we spoke about turning it into a caviar farm and launched the Exmoor Caviar Company.
'We are the first caviar farm in the UK and one of the main reasons this hasn't been done before is because of the initial up front cost which is very large.
The farm is home to six different types of sturgeon, with each taking a different amount of time to mature and produce eggs.
Sterlet, Siberian, Beluga, Russian, Stellatus and a hybrid of Beluga and Sterlet sturgeon are among the 20,000 to 30,000 fish that are kept in holding tanks.
Once they are fully grown, the eggs are extracted and washed in cold water, rubbed over plastic mesh, and then seived to get rid of the roesack and fatty membrane. More....