Peace. Love. Oysters. We live life in that order in the Vogt family as long as the oysters come from Big Island Aquaculture.
We’re a family business comfortable enough to call ourselves locals after leaving behind the bustle of a more urban lifestyle back in the mid-1990s for the serenity of the shore. We couldn’t have guessed back then that our 40-acre plot in Hayes, Virginia, would not just be the ideal place for three boys to grow up, but also a coveted spot to harvest oysters.
Home for us is 3,500 feet of waterfront that sits at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay, York River and Mobjack Bay, where salinity levels produce the quintessential oyster — a blend of salty, sweet and creamy that’s simply yummy.
We didn’t come here as oyster farmers, but right away we were welcomed by a community of watermen with a history and heritage we wanted to not only embrace but continue. They were Guineamen, who inhabited secluded Big Island; we have a panoramic view of it from our dining room table. These guys thought nothing of 12-hour days on the water, but they didn’t have to go far for what they deemed the best oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.
They were right here in my backyard.
“They’re the best ones! They ain’t foolin,’ ” the Guineamen would tell us through their thick Cockney accents.
We named our business Big Island Aquaculture to honor those watermen and their way of life.
To ensure our customers receive the quintessential oyster every time they bite into one from Big Island Aquaculture, we developed a meticulous process to not only grow the tastiest oyster, but to sustain the pristine waters that is their natural habitat. Our oysters grow in floating cages, which means they’re devoid of any sand, grit and mud. Big Island oysters are clean! We continuously tend to them over their life cycle. We cull and sort through the bags dozens of times over the course of an 18- to 24-month period.
Our oysters are sustainably grown from our farm to your table. Oysters are the Chesapeake Bay’s greatest vacuum cleaners, removing pollutants so that the water is healthier for other species and the ecosystem as a whole. Giving back to the bay is something we feel strongly about. When you enjoy oysters from Big Island Aquaculture, you’re not only doing something healthy for yourself. You’re contributing to the overall wellness of the environment.
Remember, peace, love and oysters, from our family at Big Island Aquaculture to yours.