In Virginia, oysters are harvested via wild catch or aquaculture. Wild catch involved dredges or tongs, employed in such a way as to dislodge the oyster from the bottom. This method is traditional, and really has not changed for hundreds of years. While in keeping with the traditional harvest, this method also often damages the oysters and the surrounding sea bed, hence lowering the quality of the catch and the opportunity for future growth.
Aquaculture has proven to be a sustainable method for continually growing healthy oysters in the Chesapeake bay. In Virginia, an oyster farming operation must first lease all of the farm grounds from the state. This can be a long and expensive process, which tends to leave most farms with only a few leases, in one or two geographical locations.
Williams Wharf Oyster Company has chose a different path. Via leases from the state and acquisitions of other existing oyster operations, we are currently able to farm 8 distinctly different locations. In the future, our plan is to have at least 15 different locations for growing oysters, with salinity ranging from 9-10ppt to as high as 30-32ppt.
Each underwater location has its own geography, tide, flow rate and water contents. This produces a unique flavor to each location. With nearly 30 million oysters planted in the last 24 months, WWOC is poised to become the largest and most diverse farm in the Chesapeake Bay.
In addition to this unique geography, Williams Wharf Oyster Company also limits it’s grow zones to areas with particular tides and currents, along with specific bottom conditions. Our on-staff marine biologist helps insure that each oyster leaving our farm is the cleanest and purest of taste, as can possibly be achieved. Our protocol testing is second to none and we have achieved a 100% rating on each and every Dept of Shellfish Sanitation inspection.
William’s Wharf Oyster Company