We strive to build relationships with the producers, the farmers and everyone in between. Visiting our partners and building those relationships allows us to ensure that our expectations and standards are met through the entire process. With clambake season right around the corner, we thought it would be the perfect time to focus on one our longest standing partnerships, Cherrystone Aqua Farms.
We were so fortunate to have the chance to visit Cherrystone Aqua-Farms in Virginia. We had the opportunity to watch an oyster and clams’ evolution from start to finish and meet the team behind the operation, both environmentalists and innovators who share a passion for sustainable farming. We toured the packaging plant, the storage areas, and the growing rooms, as well as the bivalves harvest locations.
Cherrystone Aqua Farms is one of the largest producers of littleneck and middleneck clams in the US. They process live clams through a grit free, state of the art closed loop filtration system using bay water. Seeing, and experiencing the process firsthand, is one that assures we are truly receiving the greatest and best tasting clams on the market!
We also were able to experience the oyster program from start to finish. Starting at the hatchery, they run an oyster breeding program where they produce millions of oyster seeds each year. From start to finish, oysters take about two months in the hatchery process, and we were able to see the broodstock start in the large tanks and finish in an outdoor upwell system.
At Cherrystone, their concentrated attention to each oysterling is what really stood out. They have their own greenhouse structures to produce a variety of algae and make their own filtration and collection systems, providing each oyster a good-quality food source.
Following the hatchery process, the oysters are then divided and placed into different areas of the bay. From the docks of their Cape Charles facility, we headed out into the Chesapeake Bay/ and ocean side grow out locations. On our trip, we got to see a variety of sites and their husbandry practices… not to mention, shuck a few back straight from the salty sea waters!