Forest and Stream, December 18, 1879


reprinted from Queens County SafeguardSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Re-immersionSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Prices

The oysters obtained from Tangier Sound, Lynnhaven, and what are known as the seaside oysters, are a rather small oyster, enclosed in an immense shell -- their native element being salt water. These oysters, when dredged and brought to the Baltimore market, are sold to the packers and others at the rate of about sixty cents a bushel.

Recently a plan has been discovered by which these oysters can be not only fattened in a very short time, but their value enhanced at least 150 per cent. Two of the large packing firms are now engaged in this business, and the manner of procedure is described as follows by one who has watched the operation: --

"When the oysters are unloaded from the pungies they are transferred to scows, over which a deck is built, and on which deck the oysters are placed. Each of these scows will carry a deck load of about 600 bushels of oysters. The scows are then towed to a point in the Patapsco River, near the Ferry Bar Bridge, where the water is quite shallow.

"The vacant space in the scow, between the deck and the bottom, is filled with water by means of a valve, and the scow is sunk. There she is left during two flood tides, when the water is pumped from her by means of a small machine provided for the purpose, and the scows are then towed up to the city again.

"The change from the salt to the fresh water, and the immersion of the oyster during these flood tides, it is said, fatten them until what was at first but a comparatively insignificant oyster becomes a plump and luscious bivalve, filling its immense shell.

"After this operation, the oysters, which, as stated, cost originally about sixty cents a bushel, are placed on the market, and readily command $1.50 to $1.60 a bushel."

Recently there were seven scow loads of these oysters immersed, and the firms engaged in the business have twelve scows constantly employed. The whole operation is under the supervision of one man, who undertakes the fattening for a consideration of ten cents a bushel, the firms furnishing the appliances. -- Queens County Safeguard.

Forest and Stream
New York
December 18, 1879