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Meet Tyler Hagenstein of Channel Rock Oyster Co.

Tyler Hagenstein founded the Channel Rock Oyster Company (Barnstable, Massachusetts) in June of 2018 with his business partners Ian O'Connell and Margaret Hill. This endeavor stemmed from Tyler’s passion for high-quality seafood and his desire to expand the Blue Economy (water-based jobs) on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Tyler with a bag of fresh Channel Rock Oysters

Located on two acres in Barnstable Harbor, the Channel Rock Oyster Farm can be seen marked by bright, yellow poly-balls (a state requirement on aquaculture sites). Channel Rock implements predominately an off-bottom culture method to grow their oysters. Off-bottom culture involves growing oysters in controlled environments that float in the open water. This is a safer environment for the oysters to develop. There are many forms of off-bottom culturing, some of which include cage culturing, rack and bag culturing, and tray culturing. They will also grow some using a bottom culture method, where the natural sea floor is used for the base of the farm. Bottom culture often produces oysters with stronger shells. This can be attributed to minerals on the seabed or a natural adaptation to a more hostile environment. Bottom culture can leave oysters more exposed and often not all survive.

Yellow poly-balls mark the location of the farm

Tyler is strongly committed to investing in the aquaculture here on the cape. His focus for the next few years will be to expand his oyster production so Channel Rock Oysters can sustain and supply year-round orders for his customers. He is also looking to expand the company’s product options to include Quahogs and other shellfish species.

The Channel Rock Oyster farm at sunset in Barnstable Harbor

What makes Channel Rock Oysters so unique? Barnstable Harbor’s cold oceanic waters provide a distinctly clean tasting oyster. With its abundant creeks, algae, and space for fresh and saltwater interaction, Barnstable Harbor “is just magical for oyster.” One of the unique features of Barnstable Harbor is its huge tidal swings. At high tide the farms can be in 8-10 feet of water, then at low tide they’re bone dry helping to contribute to the oyster’s signature flavor. White to brown in coloring with medium cups, Channel Rock Oysters have a slightly sweet, nut-like flavor and a light, clean brininess. Tyler’s favorite way to eat oysters is raw, fresh from the farm with no sauces needed.

If you have not had a chance to try a Channel Rock Oyster, now is the time as they are available in 12-count bags here.