Rome Point Oysters
Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
Availability: January through March
Size: 3.25 inches
Appearance: Clean white to brown shells, medium cup
Flavor: Strong brine with a crisp finish.
- Salinity: 3.5% = 3.5% full oceanic salinity
- Tides: Medium tides and strong currents with very little freshwater influence
- Bottom Makeup: Gravel and sand
Rome Point - Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
Seed is started in an upweller, then moved to grow in rack and bag system.
Russ Blank has enjoyed a long history on the waters of Narragansett Bay and Block Island Sound. Prior to starting Rome Point Oyster Farm, he dove for quahogs in the bay. In addition, he has run a charter boat company, Striker Charters, for over 20 years. Captain of a 31-foot Duffy that docks in Snug Harbor, he takes passengers fishing inshore for cod, blues, stripers and fluke, or on offshore excursions for tuna and shark.
Following a class in Aquaculture at the University of Rhode Island, Russ applied for a lease on a 4-acre site at Rome Point on the bay, just north of the Jamestown Bridge and adjacent to the John H. Chafee Nature Preserve. In 2001, he acquired the lease, and later leased a neighboring 4-acre site. In 2008, Russ started the Ocean State Shellfish Cooperative with the late Lou Riccarelli, who later died in a diving accident. Russ said that the cooperative broke even in its first year, but has taken off since then, shipping oysters as far west as Chicago, as far north as Canada (in the winter months), and as far south as Maryland.