Oyster farmer cupping two freshly farmed oysters in hands

The Role of an Oyster Farmer

Ever wonder what your oysters have experienced before they make it to your happy hour platter? Yes, oysters are farmed⁠—but there aren’t any plows or tractors involved. In fact, an oyster farmer’s job heavily involves hands-on harvesting, gnarly conditions, and helping to protect the environment. Discover the juicy details surrounding their line of work and how oysters are farmed.

Time and Labor Investment

Oysters take a full two years to harvest to get to four inches (market size). When you consider the fact that farmers lose about half of every harvest, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to perform this role. To limit the number of oyster deaths during farming, very little equipment and machinery are used in the sorting, grading, and operations tasks, which largely contributes to the long, eventful workdays of oyster farmers.

The Process

Everything is done the old-fashioned way, by hand only. All oysters need to thrive is clean water; these bivalves sit at the very bottom of the food chain, so farming them in controlled and protected conditions helps with minimizing some of the predatory risks in the wild. Major factors that impact oyster farming are weather conditions, water quality, and the level of care. Think about what contributes to the flavor profile of your favorite wine. An oyster’s flavor largely depends on how it was grown, just like the temperature, moisture levels, and soil quality have an impact on grapes. So what makes farmed oysters any good? It’s the farmer’s job to maintain and monitor the water quality of the trays or cages of their farmed oyster nurseries, which helps you enjoy the delicious briny and creamy tastes of fresh oysters.

Saving the Planet

Did you know that it takes five pounds of wild fish to produce one pound of edible salmon? As previously mentioned, the key ingredient to a successful oyster harvest is water, nothing more or less. Oysters filter almost 50 gallons of water a day, making healthy ecosystems and supporting the other critters around them. In the wild, oysters also provide shelter and protection for other species and undertake the thankless task of absorbing nitrogen, the third most dangerous greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

While you may not be prepared to start saving the planet by farming oysters in your backyard, you can certainly appreciate and share the joy of these eco-friendly delicacies with others. Oysters XO provides quality oysters packed with flavor, shucked fresh for you and your friends to enjoy! Our catering services allow you to experience a live oyster shucking for an entertaining, interactive experience. Contact us today to wow your guests at your next special event.

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