Welcome to the first FlipFarm in the USA
Here's Why We Converted Our Farm
Oyster Farming in Maine is messy, difficult and sometimes dangerous work
Attracting innovative, new talent into oyster farming is challenging
Scaling an oyster farm to a volume that supports a family or small business profile requires about 1 farmer per 250,000 market sized oysters
The work is injury prone and the type of labor is even more challenging in the winter
Our Oyster Nursery
At Butterfield Shellfish, we buy seed called spat or tiny 2-4 millimeter baby oysters, from a licensed hatchery located in Maine. Our seed stays in temperature controlled conditions until spring when we put the small oysters into fine mesh bags and float them on the water or suspend them in cages.
Under the FlipFarm System our babies start the same way as under traditional farming but then they move directly to 4mm Hexcyl baskets and begin their next phase of growth.
Our Grow Out Process
Setting up the Lines:
After the oysters reach about a half inch in size, we transfer them into mesh bags and slide several bags into heavy metal cages. The cages are secured in groups on lines attached to buoys and anchored to the ocean floor.
Under the FlipFarm system, line set up is reliant on great anchoring designs and a long rope.
Flipping over and back:
For the next 2-3 years we flip oyster cages over and back regularly to burn off the seaweed and barnacles that attach to the bags and cages. Flipping provides added benefits in shell strength and shape helping to form the deep cup where the oyster can grow and access the natural food sources provided by the cold Atlantic waters. The FlipFarm takes the backbreaking work out of flipping cages.
Sorting and Harvesting:
We harvest Royals after they have reached approximately 3 inches in length and have formed a deep cup full of that tender, slightly briny oyster that is headed for your plate.
Again, FlipFarm has an elegant solution that rotates the basket to the side of the boat so it can be opened and the oysters tipped into a bin.
Our Harvest to Your Table
We hand sort oysters on our raft, bag them up and drive them to shore where our distributors deliver them to your favorite bars, restaurants and picnic spots.