ing out their oysters. Each farm is unique, subject to a different sequence of currents, tidal f lows, and weather conditions. It’s all pretty exciting, and I hope to visit several of these Chesapeake innovators in the coming months.
To gather material for this article, I met with Rick Brown, a local oyster farmer. After he retired as a factory representative, Rick worked on an oyster farm in Virginia. He liked the work, and he and his wife, Joanne, a nurse, decided to give it a try ~ if they could find a suitable bit of Bay bottom to lease. They and their son Michael moved to Tilghman’s Island and applied for a lease on a
promising five-acre area. It was in a small cove protected from all but the southeast winds, and there were no waterfront homes nearby; two years later, they had their lease. Drawing on their savings, they invested in a Carolina skiff, fitted it with a hydraulic lift, and bought the other equipment and supplies they would need. They got some seed oysters and began planting. Like many other oyster farmers, Rick raises neutered oysters (called triploids), which devote their full energy to growth and excellent meat quality, rather than to reproduction. The proprietors of raw bars also like triploids because they have a rounder and more convenient shell. Rick says the oysters he grows are less salty than those further down the Bay, but are sweet and creamy. Rick buys his seed oysters from a supplier and places them in 4’x4’
Tidewater Times June 2017