Call Circle C @ 301-872-4177

Circle C Logo Oyster Ranching Banner


Home Numbers Customers Associates Our Oyster Recipes Photo Album N E W S ! Rich's Corner


BACKGROUND
How this all came about

Welcome to Circle C Oyster Ranch at St. Jerome Creek in St. Mary's County MD, the Chesapeake 's premier oyster aquaculture facility. Using state of the art surface culture techniques specially designed for the Chesapeake Bay, Circle C raises the Lineback© Oyster, the best bivalve in the Bay! Here are the Google Directions to our location.

The Ranch

Circle C Oyster Ranch on St. Jerome Creek. Circle C Oyster Ranch has moved into its new digs. Yes we will change the sign! Our facility is nestled on the shores of St. Jerome Creek In the southern most part of St. Mary's County In this cavernous 10,000 square foot building Circle C raises seed oysters from free swimming, microscopic larvae to . The Facility was originally built and operated by Chesapeake Sea Farms and is becoming Circle C's hatchery giving us full control over all stages of our Lineback©'s life.

The Floating Oyster ReefTM

Picture of the dock with reefs. At the heart of Circle C's operation is the Floating Oyster ReefTM. Designed by CEO/President Richard Pelz, it is at the forefront of oyster aquaculture technology. One reef contains approximately 600 oysters and holds them just inches below the surface of the creek. 600 oyster in only 18 square feet compares wonderfully to the Chesapeake average of 12 1/2 oysters per acre in the wild! Why does this system work? It works because it puts the oysters where the food is. Oysters eat algae that grows in Bay waters. The lions share of fresh algae, and the oxygen it produces, is found in the first 12-18 inches of water. By placing the oysters in that zone of food and oxygen, even a wild oyster's growth rate is bound to increase. In fact, Circle C has shown that wild oysters will as much as double their growth by placing them in our system. This is incredible enough, but when you couple the Floating Oyster ReefTM with Circle C's specially bred Lineback© oyster, the results are phenomenal. We have actually grown oysters from larvae to 4" in only 9 months and to 6" monsters in only 18! Our biggest oyster was over 9” larger than any recorded in scientific literature. If you find scientific evidence of this oyster getting larger than that let us know. We love a challenge.

The Oyster

The Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) has long been considered to be the Chesapeake Bay's claim to fame and is a true delicacy in most cultures. Over the last 20 years, Circle C has been perfecting its strain of eastern oyster, the Lineback©. We took several different genetic lines of oysters, chosen for growth rate, disease resistance and shape, and bred them into our original line. All things said and done, there are about 50 years of selective breeding behind our oyster! The result is the Lineback© oyster, the best oyster in the Bay. The Lineback© has been bred to have a thin shell, to grow extremely fast, and to have a deep cup to it. The oyster grows so fast in fact, that when used in conjunction with the Floating Oyster ReefTM and our seed production system, we can take it from spawn to market in under 18 months! That is less than half the time for a wild oyster to get that big under the best conditions. In fact, every year we get more and more that grow to over seven inches! A wild oyster would need 8 to 10 years to do that. The deep cup and intentionally thin shell means a higher meat to shell ratio. In fact, our oysters average about 32% more meat by weight than the same size wild oyster. The thin shell also makes Circle C's Lineback© super easy to open. Instead of shucking the old fashioned way, just take a pair of scissors, snip off the bill, stick in a kitchen knife and presto, half shell oyster!

Utube

The Staff

CEO/President Richard Pelz
Richard came to St. Mary's County, MD in 1988 with the vision of raising his favorite bivalve in a whole new way. After several years research and designing equipment, he incorporated Circle C Oyster Ranchers Association in 1992. Richard's credentials include extensive studies in fisheries biology, conducting aquaculture feasibility studies for the University of Washington and private industry in Puget Sound, authoring a Federal Government Environmental Impact study, and leading the Maryland Aquaculture Association. Richard sat on the Maryland Oyster Roundtable, the American Farm Bureau Federation Aquaculture Advisory Commission, Maryland Farm Bureau Aquaculture Advisory Committee. He has also sat on the St. Mary's County Agriculture and Seafood Commission, the St. Mary's Economic Advisory Commission, the Maryland Aquaculture Advisory Committee, and the Southern Maryland Task Force and its nutrient sub-committee. He identified the Chesapeake Bay as the best location in the nation for an oyster aquaculture business.

Rich has completed Maryland's Agriculture Leadership Program LEAD MD. LEAD is a two year course helping its fellows to ensure the future of Maryland Agriculture.

© 2013 Circle-C Oyster Ranching Association ™
49676 Freeman's Road, Dameron, MD 20628 Local: (301) 872-5126
For Questions, Comments or Corrections, contact: WebMaster
Web Page Design by: " K o o l S t u f " ~ Hosted by M i 2