Oregon Grown UMPQUA TRIANGLE  OYSTERS from Umpqua Aquaculture: Rich in Flavor, Clean in  Taste The Northwest's Sweetest Oysters

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Suspension is the Key

Growing Oysters from Seed

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Growing Oysters from Seed



Growing delicious oysters is a process that takes up to four years. It starts with a few million fresh oyster seeds. We get our seed, or larvae, from a hatchery further up the Oregon Coast when the larvae are only two weeks old,. They’re delivered to Umpqua Aquaculture overnight and maintained at a temperature of about 40 degrees F, which keeps them dormant during the trip.

The seed arrives in a lump about the size of a golf ball, which is divided among three large containers maintained at our processing plant, and dispersed in buckets of cold water. Warmer water is then incrementally added to reanimate the seeds and bring them up to the proper incubation temperature of 80 degrees F.

The food-grade tanks are filled with warmed incubation water from the Umpqua Estuary at high tide, rich in algae and phytoplankton. The tanks, into which the new seed is added, contain nets filled with empty recycled oyster shells.

For about two days, the seeds swim freely, then permanently attach themselves to the shells with an adhesive they excrete. After the young oysters are attached, the temperature of the incubation tanks is gradually lowered to match the temperature of the bay. The young oysters, now called spat, are moved in their nets to the triangular breakwater to grow. After a couple of months, the shells filled with baby oysters are attached to long lines and suspended for longer-term growth in the Triangle (see Suspension is the Key).

After the oysters have grown for at least two years for the smaller sizes and up to four years for the larger, they’re ready for harvest. We use a custom-made barge with a motorized boom to raise the oyster lines, now weighing about 150 lbs. each. The oysters are cut free from the float line, placed in totes and hauled back to the plant, where they’re tracked by number for quality control and processed for shell-stock or shucking.



Shell-stock oysters are cleaned and sold in the shell in sizes jumbo, medium, small and extra small. Shucked oysters are sorted and sold as large, medium, small, extra small and yearling. Throughout, ice keeps the oysters fresh at a temperature of about 33 degrees F. until they reach your palate!
 

 

 

 

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Contact Information:

Umpqua Aquaculture, Inc.
Cindy Simmons and Vern Simmons
Physical Address: 723 Ork Rock Road
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1287
Winchester Bay, OR 97467
541-271-5684
umpquaaqua@wildblue.net

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