Chesapeake Gold Oyster Company – Oysters


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Hooper’s Island, MD


Chesapeake Gold Oyster Company



Talking to Johnny Shockley you get a sense that he is part mad scientist, part farmer, and part genius.  Growing oysters in Hooper’s Island MD, the third-generation waterman gets excited when showing off his all-encompassing operation.  From start to finish Johnny and partner Ricky Fitzhugh are there, nurturing their oysters at every stage.   Chesapeake Golds begin their journey as tiny seeds in an on-site upweller system designed by the team.  The upweller feeds and protects the oysters, keeping millions alive during this vulnerable stage.  Next they are moved to a floating dock and eventually to cages submerged just yards away.  There they will spend their time getting fat and manicured by large tumblers that reside on Johnny’s repurposed boat.  The operation is very impressive and expansive; all aspects of the oyster’s life are traceable, and quality and sustainability can be assured.  The guys are even working with different strands of algae to diversify and intensify flavor.  After talking to them it is easy to see that they love their product.  They are not trying to reinvent the oyster, but rather, just the way it is grown.


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