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It’s A Family Business in Warren Cove

Meet the family behind the Warren Cove Oyster.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon we at Island Creek Oysters are reminded of what we are grateful for; our family.

And here on the south shore of Massachusetts, family means our neighbors, too. Just 8 miles south of our own farm, nestled in Plymouth Bay, is Warren Cove Oyster Farm. This farm has been running on family fuel since it started 6 years ago. A father, daughter, brother, sister-in-law and close friend, working tirelessly to bring you one of our favorite oysters on the east coast…the Warren Cove.

We took a trip to their farm in early November to share their story (and their oysters) with you.

Together these five all live and work by the earth’s clock – the tide, the moon, the sun. They commute together on their boat – even giving a neighboring farmer a ride – and they work rain or shine to tend to their oysters. On this particular day, the weather hit a low of 31 degrees for the first time this season, but despite the cold, the sun was beaming and the water was perfectly still – the beauty of which reminded the crew why they started farming in the first place.

Meet Jim, Gene, Ina, Nengsai and Sean.

Photos of each Warren Cove oyster farmer.

Warren Cove Oysters founder, Jim O’Shea, has been seaweed harvesting for the last 25 years. But it wasn’t until 2012 that he received the first lease on Plymouth’s White Flat and began farming oysters.

Shortly after, Jim’s brother Gene O’Shea, and his wife Nengsai retired from their careers, and started their own farm just a stone’s throw away from his brother’s, making it a true family business.

In 2014, Jim was joined by his daughter, Ina, who became his first full-time employee – leaving her job in Boston to become a full-time oyster farmer. She says she is happy with her decision to join the family business and hopes that she will be doing it for a long time to come.

Ina’s good friend, Sean – practically considered a brother to the family – has been helping Jim harvest seaweed since before the oyster days, and continues to commute daily from Dorchester to help where he’s needed.

Orange oyster crate pulled out of the bay.

The care and attention that goes into these oysters is evident when you taste them. They are both briny and sweet with a meaty bite. Raised in off-bottom trays, these oysters are carefully hand tumbled by Nengsai to help them grow into the perfect rounded medium-deep cup. Nengsai takes this part of the work very seriously. She patiently massages all the oysters by hand, traveling down each row, tray by tray assuring they all get enough personal attention. “They’re my babies!”, she says. Plus, she finds the whole process of hand tumbling to be meditative.

While this time of year reminds us we are grateful for family, as an oyster lover, Gene reminds us to be grateful for something else…

“This is the best time of the year to eat oysters.”

As the water temperature lowers, the oysters work harder to stay warm, making for a perfectly rich, briny and sweet flavor. These oysters are some of our favorites here at Island Creek, and we wanted to make sure you could get your hands on them to enjoy at your Friendsgiving or your Thanksgiving tables this week and next.

We’ve got a limited amount, and they are only available to order now until Thanksgiving.

Harvested Daily. Shipped Overnight.

Oyster farming out on White Flat in Plymouth Bay

Warren Coves will also be available on all of our restaurant’s menus from Wednesday 11/14 until Thanksgiving. Make a reservation at their websites below.