Quonnie Rock Oysters
Quonochontaug, Rhode Island
Availability: September - December
Size: 3.5 inches
Appearance: Pearly shells, with green hues, medium cup
Flavor: Explosive briny rush with full meat and a sweet lingering limestone finish
- Salinity: 3.0% < 3.5% full oceanic salinity
- Tides: Gentle 3 foot tidal range with waters from Block Island Sound
- Bottom Makeup: Sand and boulders
Upweller seed is moved to a floating cage nursery, graduating to trays and then bottom planted. Time to Market: 18 to 24 months
Prior to becoming an oyster farmer, Jim Arnoux began harvesting shellfish on the historic Great South Bay, the home of the original Blue Point oyster. Digging for clams had long been a tradition in his family, one passed down to him from his father and uncle. Bull rake in hand, Jim began to earn money clamming when he was 14 and continued to do so throughout his attendance at the University of Rhode Island, where he earned his degree in Coastal Policy and Management.
It was shortly after college when oyster farming caught Jim’s interest. After his day was done digging clams and quahogs, Jim watched intently as Lou Riccarelli and Russ Blank, two oyster farmers who later became co-founders of the oyster cooperative, tended their oyster nursery at the dock.
Beginning in 2004, Jim and fellow cooperative member Nick Papa joined forces to start a one-acre site of their own in Ninigret Pond. Today, Jim owns and operates 4 acres and, along with Quonnie Rocks, produces the famed East Beach Blonde oysters.