Pangea Shellfish Company at 2014 Seafood Expo NA

After a one year hiatus from Seafood Expo North America, we decided to come back in full swing and swagger. We were literally "drippin' swagoo" as Kanye West would say. So many people came by and was awestruck by how many oysters we had:

Seafood Expo NA Pangea Shellfish

Yes, all of the oysters displayed were a different variety from their neighbor! We got so many compliments for having the best display at the show. Attendees constantly asked if they could take a photo, and we couldn't have been more thrilled!

The highlights of being at the show each year include reconnecting with old friends, greeting our customers, matching names to faces, and building the shellfish community. The de Konings of Acadia Aqua Farms, growers of our premium Hollander & de Koning mussels, blessed us with their presence on the first day. They're fun people and one of our favorite purveyors we proudly represent!

Fiona de Koning of Acadia Aqua Farms visits the Pangea Shellfish Company booth at the 2014 Seafood Expo North America.

Fiona de Koning of Acadia Aqua Farms visits the Pangea Shellfish Company booth at the 2014 Seafood Expo North America.

It was also a pleasure to see Robert Rheault, Executive Director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, who goes way back with Ben during his Moonstone Oyster Farm days when Ben was only a college student.

Robert Rheault, Executive Director of ECSGA, says hello to the Pangea Team!

Robert Rheault, Executive Director of ECSGA, says hello to the Pangea Team!

The show is also an opportunity to make new friends and see cool new products. We were thrilled to meet the folks behind Daisy Bay Oysters (also the growers of the well-known Raspberry Point Oysters) and are proud to announce that starting next week, March 24th, we will be introducing Daisy Bay Oysters to our selection!

Lindsay Linkletter and James Power of Daisy Bay Oysters representing Prince Edward Island at the Seafood Expo NA.

Lindsay Linkletter and James Power of Daisy Bay Oysters representing Prince Edward Island at the Seafood Expo NA.

One of the reasons we love social media is because it's a great tool for making connections and building community. A huge shout out to Barren Island Oysters and Steve Vilnit (@SteveVilnit), Director of Fisheries Marketing of Maryland DNR, for engaging with us and promoting seafood and shellfish. What a fun group of guys!

Jay Fleming, Timothy Devine, Steve Vilnit, and John Kutner representing Maryland Seafood at Seafood Expo NA.

Jay Fleming, Timothy Devine, Steve Vilnit, and John Kutner representing Maryland Seafood at Seafood Expo NA.

The lineup of events at the expo also gave special consideration to the oyster. Besides talks on sustainability and a master class led by Patrick McMurray (@ShuckerPaddy), which featured Pangea's oysters, the bivalve got a lot of press during the annual oyster shucking competition! Paul Hagan, our farm manager, couldn't resist a photo opportunity with some of the world's best shuckers -- our friend, Daniel Notkin (@MtlOysterfest) of The Old Port Fishing Company, and John Bil (@keeponshucking).

Ben Lloyd, Paul Hagan, John Bil, and Daniel Notkin before the annual Seafood Expo NA Oyster Shucking Competition.

Ben Lloyd, Paul Hagan, John Bil, and Daniel Notkin before the annual Seafood Expo NA Oyster Shucking Competition.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped us make the Seafood Show a success! Until next year!

Always #eatmoreoysters,

The Pangea Shellfish Team

Pangea Shellfish Team

Farmed versus Wild Oysters -- Is One Better Than the Other?

What makes oyster farming unique is that it actually takes place out in the wild.
— Dan Light

Lately, there has been a growing perception that farmed seafood products are inferior to wild products. There has been a lot of consumer confusion on what is the healthy or sustainable choice. Although we can't speak for the fish industry, we can definitely clear up any confusion on oysters!

Watch Dan's video to learn the differences and similarities between wild and farmed oysters.

Here's the transcript of Dan's run-down on wild and farmed oysters:

Dan, is there a difference between farmed versus wild [oysters]?

Yes, absolutely there’s a difference. As the name suggests, wild oysters are out in the wild. They don’t get touched prior to being harvested, so they are a "little rough around the edges," so to say. The farmed oysters are quite a bit more consistent in shell shape from one to the next. This [shell] is pretty and very consistent in what I would find in a 100 count bag of farmed oysters.

Typically, wild oysters will grow a little bit slower than farmed oysters, which allows their shells to harden up a little more and also allows them time to grow their meat content, so the meat content tends to be a little bit more. On the flip side, farmed grow a little bit faster. That is usually by choice. Farmers want to get their product out to the market as fast as they can, typically anywhere from 18 month to 36 months.

What makes oyster farming unique versus other types of seafood farming?

What makes oyster farming unique is that it actually takes place out in the wild. So, these oysters are literally growing out in the harbor (these are actually Mayflowers from Dennis, MA). So you go out in to Cape Cod Bay, and you’ll find these oysters sitting in cages out there, eating the same food as any wild oyster would in that same area. Their getting the same water so they have the same flavor.

Most of the fish farming that goes on is in secluded areas, all approved areas. They have to be fed certain foods. It’s not fish swimming around in the ocean gathering their own food, so there’s definitely a difference between the two, which makes oyster farming unique. Same as fish farming, [oyster farming] makes oysters sustainable at the same time.  I’d say over the past ten years, oyster farming has really overtaken the wild fisheries. A lot of the wild fisheries have been overfished just like fishing, and the numbers have really dwindled over the last ten years.

When it comes to chefs and restaurants, is there a preference for wild or farmed oysters?

I don’t think so.  I think most chefs are just looking for a good quality oyster, something that presents well in a showcase, has good meat content, and also has good flavor. In my experience with the restaurants we sell to in Boston, they’re really looking for recommendations to spruce up their raw bar whether it’s a wild unique oyster or a farmed beauty. It doesn’t really matter. I think they’re just looking for the quality.