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We’re warming up! Spring Farm Update

We’ve made it! The frosty sweep of winter is almost behind us and spring weather is emerging from the lingering chill.

Our oysters have spent the winter months in subdued hibernation (YES, oysters hibernate!) – which means no filtering of water, no eating, and no strengthening of their shells. The whisper of spring​ on the horizon is waking our crop from their slumber and calls to our farm crew to start preparing for a busy season ahead.

The work on an oyster farm (and all other farms) is cyclical. Spring is the chapter which sings of rebirth and new beginnings. Similar to spotting the first green buds on your favorite tree, oyster farmers are just as excited for the changes that shape their work on the water.

It’s time to get ready, folks! Let’s see what’s happening with…

Our OYSTERS

SUNSHINE: ​As mentioned above and in ​our winter farm update​, oysters hibernate during the colder winter months. While the water in Duxbury Bay is still very cold right now, the longer daylight hours will slowly warm up the harbor. Warmer water and more sunlight lead to more algae growth and therefore, more oyster food. The oysters will start pumping water in order to feed and reboot their systems for the first time in months.

TASTE: ​These environmental changes do have an impact on how oysters will present themselves once shucked and on a platter.​ ​Increased pumping and filtering will help the oysters plump up their meat and flush fresh water through their systems. Refreshing, clean and bright flavors are in store!

The FARM

FUN FACT:

Permanent structures are not allowed in Duxbury Bay. In the winter, all buoys, moorings, docks, cages and Plex’s must be removed from the harbor and stored on land, which landlocks our farm crew until the waters warm.

Now that it’s spring, our​ ​floating, occupational home, the Oyster Plex,​ ​can return to the bay! With the Plex is back in the harbor, our crew can work more efficiently.

Along with the Plex, adolescent Row 34 and Aunt Dotty oysters are also returned to the water after hibernating in Skip’s basement all winter. Aunt Dottys and Row 34s are raised in floating cages, so both the gear that they are grown in and the oysters themselves have to leave the water until winter has passed. Now that they are back in the water, the crop can start filtering water and gettin’ big!

The HATCHERY

This time of year is called “Seed Season” in the hatchery because our team is acutely focused on producing as much seed (baby oysters or clams) as possible. We spawn in the spring so that the young oysters are hardy enough to survive being planted “free range” in the Bay, come fall.

Last year, we moved into a new eleven-acre campus that has allowed ICO to expand in every way possible! This move came with a brand new ​shellfish hatchery​ that has enabled us to produce THREE times as many oysters as we have in the past when our growth was mainly limited by space.

As of today, we have already completed three oyster spawns and a successful, experimental surf clam spawn which should be ready to harvest in about 30-36 months!

When we’re not on the water, you can find us getting ready for the busy summer ahead – planning EPIC ​farm tours​ and the reopening of our bay front raw bar on the farm!