Local oyster farms on the rise

Oysters have been rising in popularity over the past few years as cleaner waters have produced safer harvests and consumer demand has risen. In fact, according to a May BusinessWeek article, East coast oyster harvesting has annually grown by 20 percent since 2009.

Hard shell adult oysters may sell off the boat for 85 cents each. These, in turn, would retail for roughly $3 for every half shell, making those buck-an-oyster nights at the local seafood shack quite a bargain. For some farms, like the Walrus & Carpenter Oysters farm in Connecticut – the most industrious oyster farming state on the East coast – bringing in 250,000 oysters a year will produce well over $200,000.

But, while the industry is booming, it could mean that many new companies may be penetrating the market. According to the news source, farms can go for less than $200 an acre on a lease with laboratory-spawned oyster seeds running about $5,000 to $10,000 a year. The perforated pouches and racks only cost a few thousand dollars per acre as well, expenses that can be made up for with revenues coming in the hundreds of thousands.

For business looking to penetrate the growing market or to remain competitive, branding and labeling can be essential. According to the corporate chef of the three Mermaid Inn restaurants in Manhattan, Michael Cressotti, "The catchier the name, the more selling power." Mermaid Inn recently sold over $1 million oysters this past year, a quarter increase from 2010. In addition, the high end seafood spot has created an iPhone app called Oysterpedia for the connoisseurs to consult when debating between a classic Canadian Malpeque or a Chesapeake Bay Barcat.

Nevertheless, creating custom labels that can grab retailers' or consumers' attention on the market will greatly benefit a farm in differentiating itself. Farmers looking to get the leg up in branding may want to invest in a Primera LX series custom label printer. 

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