HARTFORD -- Did you know Connecticut produces the world's best oysters?
Or that the eastern oyster is the state's designated state shellfish?
Most Nutmeggers do not. Nor do they know that, together with clams, blue
mussels and bay scallops, oysters provide the base for a multimillion
dollar farming enterprise in Connecticut. Today, more than 70,000 acres
of shellfish farms are under cultivation in Connecticut's coastal
waters... farms that harvest millions of pounds of oysters, clams and
other shellfish every year from Long Island Sound and the lower
cultivation, propagation and harvesting of clams and oysters along the
state's 250-mile coastline is often a family affair. Case in point is
Norm Bloom and Son in Norwalk. Owned by Norman Bloom and operated in
conjunction with his son, daughter and wife, among others, the business
was established in the late 1940s by Bloom's father and uncle. Bloom has
been involved since the late 1970s.
Explaining that shellfish farming is a year-round business in
Connecticut, Bloom noted Norm Bloom and Son harvests approximately 200
bushels of clams and eastern, aka bluepoint, oysters per day.
people don't realize that Connecticut shellfish farming is not confined
to warm weather months," he observed. "Although local oysters are most
prevalent during the months containing the letter 'r' [i.e. September,
January, March], they are available year-round, as are clams. But in
July, when the oysters are spawning, clams dominate."
addition to owning Norm Bloom and Son, Bloom is a partner in Dolan
Brothers Shellfish in Branford. Co-owner Art Dolan indicated his company
works year-round as well, netting an average 300 bushels of hard clams
and 100-150 bushels of oysters per week. Dolan's venture is also
multi-generational; it was founded by his father and uncle about five
concentrates on hard-shell or round clam - commonly known as quahog -
farming, harvesting several varieties, including littlenecks, topnecks,
cherrystones, and the larger chowders. Yet he is especially proud of the
international acclaim afforded Connecticut's bluepoint oyster.
"According to oyster connoisseurs, the bluepoint is the world's premium
oyster," he stated. "The bluepoint has a distinct flavor, the result of
the Sound's mixture of fresh and salt water. This difference in the
water creates a much better taste."
Originally published in Connecticut's Backyard, the e-newsletter of CT
Agricultural Business Cluster.
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