Suspended longline aquaculture is a cutting edge way to grow shellfish. The nature of this process allows us to branch out into deeper water than traditional oyster farming practices. We grow our oysters in square cages stacked on top of one another about 5 feet tall, and they hang down in the water column at different levels which enables them to graze on a wider range of planktons, and nutrients. The cages are hung from a “main line” that stretches 350 ft. through the water with floats above each cage; a longline compares to a row of vegetables on a farm.
Our locations have an incredible exchange rate of water passing through them on any given tide, and our oysters have the convenient disadvantage of growing too fast. Throughout the growing season,
May through October, we must tumble and clean all of our new plantings repeatedly. This chips the new growth from the lip of the oyster creating a deeper cup, along with removing biofouling that competes for nutrients, and weighs down the cages.
During the colder seasons the oysters build up glycogen stores because there is not as much available food. Glycogen is a tasty sugar that keeps these animals alive until the spring along with changing their flavor from the salt of the summer flavors to the sweetness of the winter; just about the only sweet thing about the winter.