I am so inspired by people like Abby. Abby is an entrepreneur who owns Long Cove Sea Farm, and is carving out her niche in the Maine oyster world. How did I find her? Well I had no idea, but last time I was in Maine, a photo gave it away that I was camping right across from her farm. Sometimes the greatest stories are right under your nose. Let me introduce you to this rising star, Abby, from Long Cove Sea Farm in Deer Isle, Maine.
Where did it all begin? Why did you get into farming oysters?
Abby: I have been interested in oyster aquaculture for many years. I grew up on an island with a strong working waterfront culture. I as learned more about fish population decline and the strain our fisheries are putting on the marine environment, I was driven to look into alternatives that would not only soften our impact on the marine environment, but actively help restore it. The more I learned about oyster aquaculture, the more I was intrigued.
I have studied marine biology and water quality for the last handful of years and realized the importance of water quality and water clarity for maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem. Oysters help with just that – adult oysters filtering up to 50 gallons a day! So I was drawn to oyster aquaculture because it is one of the most sustainable fishery practices, it allows me to work outside, it helps to create a resilient coastal community, and cultivates conversation and education around marine environment health.
What is one unique thing about your oysters, or your farm process, that you would like to share with oyster consumers?
Abby: Historically, Long Cove has been an extremely productive fishing ground. The unique geography of the protected cove, and a narrow bottle neck section that widens into the open ocean allows for cool, nutrient-rich ocean waters to flood in each tide cycle. A section of the cove is completely exposed at low tide, allowing for the cold water to be warmed by the mud flats as it rushes in, creating a ideal environment for relatively fast oyster growth.
What’s your favorite part of being an oyster farmer?
Abby: I can’t imagine a better work situation than being out on the water, working with my hands. Even though I have grown up on boats working on the Gulf of Maine, the amount of time and moving pieces for maintaining boats and the farm infrastructure is sobering.
What should we expect when we eat one of your oysters?
Abby: A crisp, clean, briny kick , followed by a creamy finish with traces of lingering salt.
Where can we find your oysters?
Abby: I currently sell my oysters at the indoor Tuesday Deer Isle Night market, where you can buy them to bring home. If you are after instant gratification, I can shuck them right there for you to slurp down. You can also pre-order for pick up from my home in Stonington. I typically do a weekend harvest on Friday or Saturday morning. Right now, since it is really a one-woman show, I am not selling to local restaurants since I can move all of the oysters through retail sales.