Welcome to Cornell Oysters; A Family Run Oyster Farm
Harvesting a Sense of the Sea


The Process

The Growers

Cornell Oysters was started in 2003 by father and son
team, Roger and Tom Cornell. 
Roger Cornell has been a
commercial fisherman since the late 60’s, working on local bays and the Long Island Sound. From the time Tom was eight years old, he worked summers with his dad on their lobster boat. After college, Tom returned to lobstering working full time with his dad.   However, in 1999, the Long Island Sound faced a sudden lobster die-off  leaving  Tom and Roger looking for a new way to make a living on the water.

In 2003 they received hands on training  from Cornell Cooperative’s SPAT director, Kim Tetrault, on the process of growing an oyster seedling to market size.

Now, 9 years later, Cornell Oysters has established themselves as a "Hamptons Favorite".  Look for Cornell Oysters (Hog Necks) on the menu at your favorite restaurant!

The Growing Process

 All Cornell Oyster seed is first purchased from a hatchery when it's approximately 1/2 - 1 inch in size.  The seeds are put into rigid mesh bags in what is known as a “bag and cage” grow out system. The quantity placed in the bags is based on volume. Next the mesh bags are placed in cages and set down in deep water just above the sea floor.  Since the oysters are not placed directly on the bottom, they are never sandy or muddy. The oysters now filter feed on plankton which makes them grow.  Each cage is connected to ropes and buoys for easy marking. 

It takes approximately 2-3 years for an oyster seed to reach market size and they are handled once every two weeks.  During this time,
they are first run through a sorting/washing machine which acts similar to a rock tumbler by keeping the oysters round and deep cupped.  As they go through the machine they are sorted into different sizes making a hardier oyster and allowing them to stay fresher longer.  All oysters are then put back into the water;  the small ones are put back so they can continue to grow and the market size oysters so they can heal from the tumbling.

When an order is placed each oyster is hand- picked for the best shape and cup to send to market.  They are  personally scraped of any fouling and then run through a finish washer ensuring every oyster is perfectly clean for delivery.

Click here to see a video of this process.

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