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Natural Foods Merchandiser

MOM's launches unique farm-to-store oyster program

Article-MOM's launches unique farm-to-store oyster program

MOM's launches unique farm-to-store oyster program
Natural retailers across the nation have ventured into farming. But MOM's Organic Market's new oyster farm might be the most unique local foods effort in retail.

From its very own oyster farm off of Fleets Island, Virginia, MOM's is adding oysters to its list of sustainable seafood choices. MOM's Oyster Farm promotes conservancy and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Partners such as the Environmental Working Group ( helped with research, and the Oyster Recovery Partnership ( trained staff and is working with MOM's to offer oyster shell recycling. To support the ongoing work in the Bay, MOM's is donating 5 percent of store sales to the Oyster Recovery Partnership on Friday, Dec. 5.

MOM's leases ocean bottom acreage off of Fleets Island, Virginia. "We started with 500,000 oyster spat in spring of 2013," says MOM's founder Scott Nash. "Through trials and tribulations, we've learned about soft mud bottom vs. firm sandy bottom, how ocean currents impact oyster growth, how often oysters need to be culled and moved to larger cages, and floating cages vs. bottom cages. This year, the mortality rate of our oysters was 80 percent, higher than average rates, but these were important lessons to learn and we are confident that of the 500,000 oyster spat we started this past spring, we will have most of them available for sale by September 2015."

There was a time when oysters were an incredibly abundant and reasonably priced source of protein. MOM's goal is to use our direct-trade oyster farm to make oysters affordable. We will be offering them at $14 for two dozen.

In the early 17th century, John Smith wrote that Chesapeake Bay oysters "lay as thick as stones." MOM's Oyster Farm ensures that more oysters are in the Bay, filtering our water and restoring our environment. A ton of oysters (8,000 oysters) can sequester as much as 2,800 pounds of CO2 from hatch to harvest!

MOM's will sample and sell oysters at the grand opening of their much-anticipated D.C. store on New York Ave NE (November 14-16), as well as in Rockville and Alexandria. MOM's will also accept oyster shells at these stores for responsible recycling with the Oyster Recovery Partnership.

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