Producer Profile: Cape May Oyster Cooperative

Thanksgiving is three weeks away! To help you get excited for the big feast, we'll be profiling some of our Thanksgiving vendors on the blog over the next few weeks. This week: the Cape May Oyster Cooperative.

The oysters we are offering this year for Thanksgiving pre-orders come from the Cape May Oyster Cooperative—specifically Betsy’s Cape Shore Salts and Dias Creek Oyster Co.—located in the Delaware Bay, near the southernmost tip of New Jersey. Both farms (and the several other co-op member farms) source their seed oysters from the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, then raise them in plastic mesh bags hung on racks in the bay. It’s a laborious process that takes anywhere from one to three years, but the resulting oysters are well worth the time and effort: firm and plump, with a characteristically sweet, earthy flavor.

And the best part? They’re just as sustainable as they are delicious. These oysters are farmed in their own habitat, where they are left to feed themselves and grow at their own pace. While their mesh bags and farmers’ tending routines keep them clean and safe, they are still able to fulfill their essential role in the food chain by purifying the waters of the bay and providing healthy habitats for other marine creatures.

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Location: Atlantic County, on the intertidal sand flats of the lower Delaware Bay

Farmers: Betsy Haskin (Betsy’s Cape Shore Salts); Richard and Stephanie Cash (Dias Creek Oyster Co.)

Main product(s): fresh, farm-raised Cape May oysters

Agricultural practices: The oysters are spawned at the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory and then sold to oyster farmers, who place the tiny fledglings inside plastic mesh bags, hang them on racks in the bay, and tend to them as they grow to market size.

Click here to pre-order Cape May oysters for your Thanksgiving dinner!