Product Differentiation on a Subtidal Oyster Farm

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2021: $9,568.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2022
Grant Recipient: Winnegance Oyster Farm
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Jordan Kramer
Winnegance Oyster Farm


  • Animals: shellfish


  • Animal Production: aquaculture
  • Crop Production: varieties and cultivars

    Proposal summary:

         This project aims to help sea farmers diversify their offerings by using a variety of oyster growing techniques to produce distinct products on a single site. Four types of equipment/handling will be tested (lantern nets, floating tube cages, “straddled” oyster bags, and traditional floating oyster cages) each with differing exposure to depth, wave action, light, and food-sources. Oyster dimensions, appearance, meat quality (plumpness), and flavor will be measured over the course of the growing season. Near the end of the growing season, a food-industry taste test and survey will gauge the success of differentiation efforts. Outreach will focus primarily on social media and press (due to COVID 19) but will have a farmer-to farmer component- with in-depth techniques and results shared with members of an aquaculture co-op.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This projects seeks to develop methods for growing multiple distinct oyster products on a single subtidal farm though the use of varied husbandry practices (tube cages, lantern nets, straddled bags, and floating cages).

    Objective 1: Utilize varied amounts of wave action/turbation to create oysters with distinctive shell shapes by treatment

    Objective 2: Utilize differences in depth to give oysters different food sources and shell coloration

    Objective 3: Test marketability of these oysters as new/different products through taste tests, food industry outreach.

    Objective 4: Demonstrate ability to farm oysters multiple parts of water column on a subtidal lease (as a potential strategy for increasing yields)

    If successful, this project would give farmers tools to diversify their oyster offerings and gain market access. This information could be useful for new farmers- helping them plan leases and equipment around the ability to grow multiple oyster products.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.