farming oysters


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"By the time our oysters are ready for market they have been literally hand raised by us and Mother Nature." ~ Terry Sawyer, Hog Island Oyster Co.

From start to finish, it takes from 18 months to three years to grow a premium Hog Island Oyster. We begin with single-seed spat, or oyster seed, no bigger than a grain of granola, to control the distinguishing shape, quality and flavor of our oysters while Mother Nature does the rest.

The Oyster Nursery

Spat is placed (by the millions) in fine mesh cylinders called Stanways to begin their growth in Tomales Bay. Adopted from Australian aquaculture, Stanways rock with the tides allowing nutrient rich bay water to tumble through and around the young oysters. This tumbling sets into motion the shape and architecture of our most prized oysters - Hog Island Sweetwaters, with their rounded, deep-cupped shells with prominent fluting and firm, sweet meat.

Raising Hog Island Oysters

At about half an inch, juvenile oysters are transferred to our adapted 'French' rack and bag method. Oysters grow in mesh bags elevated above the bay floor where they easily feed on phytoplankton and other natural bay nutrients. Our farm crew regularly flips the bags to monitor the oysters’ health and harden their shells.

The Oyster Harvest 

We assure you the absolute safety and quality of all our Hog Island oysters and shellfish.  We place all our freshly harvested oysters, clams and mussels in a state-of-the-art saltwater tank system for a minimum of 24 hours to cleanse and purge. These tanks were pioneered and designed by Hog Island to allow oysters and shellfish to bathe in clean, cold, filtered seawater until they are delivered or sold directly to you. Resting time in the tanks ensures a consistently fresh, clean and delicately flavored Hog Island® Oyster.