[See Update for new Stretch Goals!]
Ok, we've won the lottery. (Sort of)
Thanks to an amazing new program we are fortunate to be among a very small group of folks granted coveted rights to foster and grow shellfish in the amazing Peconic Bay. Patience, luck and a great deal of paperwork got us this far.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
We are proud to announce that we have all regulatory permits in place. We waded (hah!) through a whole lot of acronyms to get here: DEP, ACE, USCG and more!
Our custom farm gear has been designed and built for us and is now ready to deploy this spring for our first planting. This is cutting edge aquaculture gear which has been built to best take advantage of our specific farm site and is designed to outlast and outperform typical equipment.
We have had amazing reception and encouragement from individuals as well as restaurants and chefs who are eagerly anticipating our first harvests.
AND THAT'S WHERE YOU COME IN!
WHAT WE NEED
Our first order of business will be to get the ranch fully "planted" this spring, followed by a second planting in the late fall. To accomplish this we will need:
Seed stock: Called "spat". These are very small, baby oysters. In fact they look exactly like a mature oyster when viewed under a microscope.
Grow Out Gear: We have sufficient gear to lay out our initial plantings and are working on completing the build out of gear to complete year 1. In addition we hope to build our floating nursery to facilitate growing out from the smallest size seed available.
Boat: We love to swim, but we need to float! We will be looking to acquire or contract a workboat to serve the ranch. Our business plan allows for the subcontracting of this work for year 1 if necessary, however we expect to acquire and engineer a vessel as soon as possible. We are working on designs which utilize recycled materials and which operate as cleanly and efficiently as possible.
Long Island Oysters hold a near mythical position in the history of American seafood. Once upon a time the abundant Peconic Bay provided oysters by the tons. Fresh, shucked, smoked, canned. Greenport, NY was an oystering center akin to the sardine canneries of Monterray Bay. That industrial approach to food is thankfully passed us now. The Bay, once cleared of its bounty, ceased to sustain that level of oystering. The canneries folded and disappeared. The ecosystem changed, the algae blooms arrival on east coast waters, and a changing way of life, left that water laying fallow like a forgotten field.
With the very recent farming approach to shellfish production, everything is different. Oyster seeds are planted and harvested without damaging impact. Oyster farming is, in fact, one of the more environmentally beneficial activities we can do for our ecosystem. The farm itself essentially creates artificial reefs which have been shown to attract long missing sea-life back to the bay. These small farms create rewarding jobs and by their very nature become protectors of our natural resources.
ECO SIDE EFFECTS!
It turns out that oysters (and other shellfish) are amazing water filters. They can process 50 gallons of water/day...each! Since some of our oysters will stay in the racks for a few years. By the time they are harvested, each oyster will have filtered almost 55,000 gallons of water. They also sequester carbon in their shells. In fact there is a possibility that the farm could earn carbon credits for removing significant caron from the atmosphere. Credits or no, it does happen, so we dig it.
Part of our philosophy is built around the idea of replenishing our cherished natural resources. A portion of every planting effort will include a wild seeding of oysters in the bay. In participation with existing organizations and institutions we will participate in the replenishing of the wild oyster population of the bay.
We are lucky to be situated in a food paradise. From the fresh farm produce of our "dirt farmer" neighbors, the vineyards and craft breweries to the amazing chefs who have carved out their niche here on the North Fork. For those of you within travelling distance, we encourage you to come for some food tourism. Be sure to let us know when you are coming!
Thanks for taking a look at our Kickstarter project. We are excited to share our ideas with you and look forward to hearing from you. Please hit us up with any questions. We have tried to put together some fun rewards at all levels ranging from participation in our feel-good wild seeding program, stickers, t-shirts all the way to a unique farm experience.
Thank you again for your consideration!
Risks and challenges
RISKS AND CHALLENGES
Nothing is without risk of course, this project included. With that in mind we have assessed a few risks we face:
Natural Disaster: Hurricane Sandy for example. This delayed our fall planting plans. Potential losses include lost or damaged grow out gear, damage to boats and facilities. Mitigation: We are developing a portion of the field to be further fortified against this type of storm as much is possible. We are also involved with the industry pursuing crop insurance for shellfish.
Time to Market: We will be at the mercy of the first plantings time to market in terms of how soon we are able to fully able to run off our own "engine." This means that cash flow and careful management of resources will be crucial. Our Kickstarter effort, in combination with other fundraising and retail operations are the first steps in protecting against this delay.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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