It’s one thing to enjoy eating oysters—to live for oyster farming and aquaculture is another thing entirely.
Perry Raso’s passion for aquaculture is compelling as it is contagious. Raso—who earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in aquaculture and fisheries technology from the University of Rhode Island (URI)—opened Matunuck Oyster Farm in 2002, followed by Matunuck Oyster Bar in 2009. The Matunuck Vegetable Farm, founded in 2012, received its organic certification in 2015.
Today, Matunuck Oyster Bar consistently earns recognition for *surprise* their “Pond-to-Table” oysters and fresh seafood menu. Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, The Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune are just a handful of publications who have featured restaurant and oyster farm.
For those who are curious enough to learn what “Pond-to-Table” truly means, Matunuck Oyster Farm hosts free tours led by Raso himself.
Whenever I attend live events, I always try to take a reasonable amount of notes. I’m most likely guilty of spending too much time listening for the most quotable information instead of paying attention to the event as a whole.
Not this time. I gave up taking notes during Raso’s oyster farm tour within 15 minutes and tried to fully absorb as much knowledge as possible.
It’s clear from the start that Raso lives and breathes his work every single day—you can only hope that you’ll be able to keep up with all of the interesting facts about aquaculture and its changing dynamics and the oyster farming process.
- Unlike clams that bury themselves below sediment, oysters need to stay above sediment, so they attach themselves to rocks to stay elevated.
- Female oysters are typically larger than male oysters.
- Shellfish is the second most popular U.S. import.
- Asia accounts for 90% of global aquaculture production. (WorldFish fact sheet)
- The Rhode Island Shellfish Initiative launched in Spring 2017 “in recognition of the importance of shellfish to Rhode Island and as part of the continuing efforts to support a strong local food economy.”
If there’s one major takeaway from the Matunuck Oyster Farm tour, it’s that there is a need for sustainable aquaculture. The demand for shellfish continues to rapidly increase, while the supply only becomes more limited.
Local farming—aquaculture, agriculture, or any other cultivation—is arguably the best way to improve the regional ecosystem and create sustainable communities.
Want to learn more about Matunuck Oyster Farm and Matunuck Oyster Bar? Visit their website for more information and how to book a private tour.