Each spring we purchase seed from a hatchery. The seed is kept cool and moist on its journey to Bar Harbor where it is quickly placed into grow-out bags at a specific stocking density. The baby oysters are placed on the southernmost tract of our farm which is closer to the mouth of Mount Desert Island's biggest saltwater marsh. The warm sweet water exiting from the marsh mixes with the cold seawater from Mt. Desert Narrow's strong tides. This mixture of warm, cold, fresh and salt makes the perfect conditions for abundant phytoplankton to thrive which our oysters so happily feed upon.
The Grow Out
Each of our market-size Bar Harbor Blondes spends 3 years growing on our 22 acre lease. The oysters spend their whole life in large metal cages which float on the surface of the water during the growing season: April--December. On the surface the water is warmer and plankton is more plentiful allowing the oysters to filter feed and grow. To control bio-fouling and create a perfect shell we periodically flip the cages to a reverse or drying position. This exposes the oysters and their homes to the bleaching power of the sun. After a 24 hour drying period we return them back to the feeding position. This process keeps the gear and the oysters clean from bio-fouling. In the cold, icy winter months, we sink all the oysters in their cages to rest on the ocean floor. The cold water temperatures prevent the shell of the oyster from growing, but the character, flavor and texture continue to develop. The result is a bright, well- manicured oyster. The strong shells make an exceptionally easy shuck and the deep-cup holds a perfectly delectable, briny meat.