Still, the Cotuit Oyster Company is able, with five town-leased grants covering over 33 acres, to grow enough to be viable. Gargiulo says that his crew brings tens of thousands of market-ready oysters to the dock in a busy week. Cotuit Oyster Company has a retail license to sell shellfish, and—if you catch someone in the office—you can buy the delicacies same-day-fresh right out of the cooler.
The company is devoted to sustainability. The Cotuit Oyster Company building is environmentally friendly, with roof-mounted solar panels and an incinerating toilet. And the oysters are actually good for the ecosystem, each filtering as many as 50 gallons of water a day and removing nitrogen. The bivalves’ combined effect, says Gargiulo, is like removing 100 houses with septic systems from the waterfront.
The scene on Cotuit Bay after Irene makes late summer look like late fall, with trees prematurely brown, leaves already falling having been blasted by salt spray from the high winds. Oysters—and the folks who harvest them—can’t hide outdoors. But the Cotuit Oyster Company endures. One hundred and sixty four years and counting.
For information, go to