This is where it all started for us. The Rappahannock River remains a remarkably pristine waterway, with vast stretches seemingly unchanged since European settlement – 61% of its watershed is still forested, 35% is in cropland, leaving a mere 4% designated 'urban.' What makes the location so unique for oysters is its tie to the freshwaters of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our farm is situated near the mouth of the Rappahannock, where the full force of the river meets the Chesapeake Bay. The influence of the mineral rich freshwaters is unmistakable and accounts for the oyster's trademark 'sweetness.' The low salinity (a mere 15ppt) gives you a hint of the sea while allowing the complexity of the animal shine through. Since flavor depends less on what you eat, but rather what you eat ate, it's critical to have a healthy, diverse system in which to grow. The lower salinities not only afford you more diversity, but a lower dose of salt so that you can truly taste that diversity. We often say, the Rappahannock is for the beginner or the connoisseur. Its quiet approach makes it easy to throw down 3 dozen without even thinking, but to the delicate palate it can unleash a chorus of wildly original notes. Pair it with an evanescent wine or caviar and you'll experience and entirely richness.
Between the Rappahannock and York rivers is a land mass known locally as the Middle Peninsula. At its eastern tip, extended out into the Chesapeake Bay, is a smallish bay, some 4 miles by 7 miles, formed by the confluence of four minor but immensely scenic rivers: the East, North, Ware, and Severn. Though technically a bay within a bay, Mobjack Bay most assuredly gets its greatest influence from the expansive Atlantic, just 25 miles to its southeast. In fact, Mobjack almost looks as if it's poised to "catch" the influx of salt streaming in from the ocean. This proximity, if not this design, delivers a far greater bite of salt than the Rappahannock, and yet the Mobjack Oyster is still touched by the sweetness of its freshwater sources.
Rappahannock River Oysters® (sweet)
Origin: Topping, Virginia; Species: Crassastrea virginica; Salt range: 13-18 ppt.; Taste Description: Deep cupped and mineral rich, with an understated saltiness that lets the oyster's natural flavor come though, our Rappahannocks offer up a sweet, buttery, full-bodied taste with a refreshingly clean, crisp finish. It's the very same oyster we started growing in 1899.
Stingray Oysters™ (mild)
Origin: Ware Neck, Virginia; Species: Crassastrea virginica; Salt Range: 16-20 ppt.; Taste Description: Drawn from the Bay's median salt range, Stingrays are the quintessential Chesapeake Bay oyster: sweet and mildly briny with a clean, crisp finish. Named after the Bay oyster's chief predator, these Stingrays bite back!
Olde Salt Oysters™ (briny)
Origin: Chincoteague, Virginia; Species: Crassastrea virginica; Salt Range: 28-33 ppt.; Taste Description: The truest taste of the ocean, our Olde Salt oysters bring together a bold sea-side brininess with a smooth, clean follow-through. Grown off the coast of Chincoteague (think Misty), our Olde Salt oysters are more than a classic, they're legendary.
Origin: Chesapeake Bay; Species: Crassastrea virginica (native); Packaging: Pints (~25 oysters), Quarts (~50 oysters); Description: Our Barcat Shucks™ mark a shift in the way of doing business in the Chesapeake Bay. For years, oyster populations were so low that "Bay" shucked oysters were, more often than not, actually coming from the Gulf of Mexico. Our Barcats are 100% Chesapeake Bay oysters. Better than that, well over half are coming from aquacultured grounds (previously unheard of on the East Coast) - and we're working hard to make that 100%.
disclaimer:pricing and availability subject to change.