Let's Talk Oysters

 
 
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 (252) 269-9973 or (252) 240-1425

Opening an Oyster

Place your oyster with the flatter side up on a folded towel.  Next, insert your Oyster Knife into the hinge and twist it until the hinge opens. Slide your oyster knife under the top and bottom of the shell to cut the muscle. Open the oyster and, using your knife, remove any bits of shell, while saving the juice. It gets easier with practice.

Getting the bags ready

 

A float bag is used to contain the oysters.  It consist of the bag which is made of plastic mesh and 2 buoys. The oysters are placed in the bags depending upon the size of the oysters.  The mesh must be at least half the size of the oyster.As the oysters grow, the number in each bag must be reduced because of rhe weight.  

They get their nourishment from the wave action moving food through the bags.  It takes an oyster anywhere from 9 months to 2 yrs to grow from a tiny 4mm spat to a full sized 3" oyster in NC.  The oyster will taste as salty as rhe water it ingested over the last 12 hours. The water in Jarrett Bay is very salty, much like the ocean, and makes for a wonderful tasting oyster. 

 

We make our bag by putting the bag over a frame of 2x4's 16" wide. We then run a cvpc pipe across the top to seal one end and use 2 zip ties to secure it. Next we attach a buoy to each side and secure them with 3 zip ties on one side and 2 on the other. Once that is done and the 66" rope (1/4" braided nylon) is threaded on the side with 3 zip ties, the bag is turned over and another piece os cpvc is placed on the bottom. It is then ready to be placed on the farm.

Upwellers

Upwellers are used for small spat that can be raised to a size that will fit in a 4mm bag.  They must be 8mm to fit in the bag and not escape.

 

Upwellers consist of individual cylinders called "silos" in which oyster spat are placed. The silos are then placed in a large tank so that water may be pumped through. A mesh is placed on the bottom for the spat to rest on.

 

Building an Upweller or Repairing One.....

                             by Dana Schmidt - Carteret Community College

 

Using duct pipe which comes in 10 ft lengths cut sections about 18” long.  Then cut 1” rings using a jig saw and being very careful to keep the cut straight.  After the ring is cut, cut it in two and then cut 1 ¼” off of the length for the insertion inside the pipe.

     Cut a hole in the pipe for the 2” connector for the drain a couple of inches from the top. You will also need to cut 4 holes for 2 -1/2" cpvc pipes to hold up your upweller in your tank. Later you will add a 4” piece of 2” pipe to the inside of your connector and an elbow which can increase or decrease the flow of the water as you turn it.  These will not be glued.

     If using an old upweller, carefully remove the ring from the inside.  Now using a scraper and a brush, clean the surface completely on the inside, outside, and on the edges.  Do the same for the ring, being careful not to break it.  Wash with soap and water and then rinse.  Sand all areas that you plan to put liquid nails or 5200 on. Now take some acetone and clean the area where the ring will go, the ring itself, and the area around the hole for the 2” connector on both sides.

     Next glue the connector in place on both sides.  Be sure that it is very snug. It will take 24 hrs to dry.  Use plenty of liquid nails and smooth with your fingers.  Using your spit on the glove before smoothing will work better. Now you are ready for the screening. Using cat scratch screen, which is tough, cut a square that is about 3-4” wider than the outside of the pipe. Turn the pipe uside down. Put a rib of liquid nails near the top of the pipe where you will place the ring. Now with the screen on the pipe, place the ring over it and attach the ring opposite the cut in the ring. Working around the the bucket and securing the ring you will finally get to the cut.  Place a screwdriver between the edges and work the ends until they snap in place.

(it may take a lot of pressure to make it come together).

     Now, be sure to tap the ring so that it is level with the pipe. Pre-drill holes for stainless steel screws (½” self tapping), one at each side where the ring comes together and 2 more about a third of the way around. Turn the pipe back over being careful not to disturb the 2” connector, and put liquid nails around the inside of the screen, trying to press the glue into the crack between the ring and the pipe. Smooth the glue against the screen and then turn the pipe over and repeat the process on the other side of the screen. this will glue the screen on both sides to the ring and eliminate any cracks that the spat might find.

     Let the glue set up for at least 24 hrs and then you can trim the excess screen using a blade.

     Now your upweller is ready for spat.

Turning the Bags

The process of turning the bags is to place one bag on top of the one across from it and rhen pulling the bottom bag under and acroos, thus turning the bags over. The reason for doing this is that the bags get fouled up on the bottom by grasses, barnacles, crabs, etc and in turning the bags over, the sun will clean the upper side.

Screw Anchor

Screw anchors are used to secure the ropes that hold the bags in place.  Our screw anchors are 4' in length with a 6" screw at the bottom.  We screw the anchor under the sand and the 1 1/4" rope floats above to which the 3/4" ropes are tied that hold the bags in place.

Upweller housing