Cape May Salt Oyster Farms Premium Oysters Start to Finish
We take pride in our oysters. We’re hands-on throughout the growing process from our nursery on the “Miss Betty” to packing the last of the orders. We’ve coined this 18-24 month journey to be “Millimeters to Markets”.
To start the process, we first receive seed from accredited hatcheries around 1mm to 2mm in size- tiny! In our floating upweller system, or Flupsy for short, seed is stored in large fiberglass bins in which the bottoms and front face have mesh lined openings. This design allows water to flow through the bin when lowered into the water. Using a paddle wheel, we generate an upwelling current that flows through the bins and down and out through a center trough. This provides our seed with a constant flow of nutrient rich water from the Delaware Estuary. Hand sorting of our oysters occurs daily. We do this to keep similar sized oysters together, respectively, to help increase survival for our juvenile oysters. We’re able to hold approximately eight million oysters ranging in size of 1mm to 3/8”. Once they’ve grown to between 3/8”and ½” in size, they then will be dispersed to our farms for grow out where they will become Cape May Salts, Stormy Bay Oysters, or Elder Point Oysters.
Oysters destined for the Cape May Salts farm, a tidal flat on the “Cape Shore” section of the Cape May Peninsula (near Middle Township, NJ) will be bagged up by density into mesh bags and grown using the French “Rack-and-Bag” growing technique. Periodically, sections of bags strapped to rebar racks will be removed and the contents will be cleaned and ran through a tumbler, chipping off the oyster’s growing edge and thus encouraging a deep cup and uniform shape. Again, the oysters are redistributed into bags by volume depending on size and redeployed to the farm.
Our Stormy Bay Oysters and Elder Point Oysters are grown a completely different way! Seed destined to become a Stormy Bay or Elder Point will be dispersed into trays contained in cages that are dropped approximately 20ft below the surface to the floor of the Delaware Bay. Winches aboard our vessels; the Morning Star, Stormy Bay, and our newest to the fleet the Vantage, pull these cages up on deck with a buoy line. Once on deck, the oysters are dumped into a hopper which feeds into an aluminum tumbler. Like our Salts, the oysters are cleaned and sorted by size, but are redistributed by volume back into cages.
Grown nearly 20 miles away from each other, the tastes are worlds apart. Our Cape May Salts offer a significantly more noticeable briny taste than our Stormy Bays and Elder Points, which are more on the mild side and have a sweeter finish. Ranging from three to four inches for our average harvested size, we have an oyster for everyone from the old salt to the novice. Check out the Our Oysters page for more information on the final products!