The idea of selling Falmouth oysters and quahogs to the public at a shellfish farmers market was floated at this week’s shellfish advisory committee.
Last year a demand for oysters bottomed out when restaurants had limited capacity during the coronavirus pandemic. The chairman of the committee and oyster grower Peter Chase began looking for other avenues to sell the bivalves. It the market comes to fruition, it would be the first of its kind in Falmouth, but first there needs to be buy-in from growers, harvesters, wholesalers, the town and the state.
“Obviously the restaurant market is bad,” Mr. Chase said. “It may be worth exploring.”
The idea for a direct-to-customer market for oysters and quahogs was hatched when Mr. Chase learned that Wellfleet recently started a shellfish market every Saturday at the Wellfleet Town Pier. It allows growers to get their products into people’s homes and stomachs.
“I’m bringing it up now because it’s being done in other towns. It’s the beginning of January so we have to get the conversation going if we want to do it.”
He said they would have to find a location, partner with a wholesaler with a refrigerated truck, get permission from the town and secure a permit from the state department of marine fisheries.
Daniel Ward of Ward Aquafarms said he was not interested.
“We have had the ability this whole time to sell through Coonamessett Farms. We have explored this potential and figured it was not worth the effort….standing at a farmer’s market all day…for what?” he asked.
Mr. Chase said they could set up prescribed hours at Coonamessett Farm, or another farmer’s market, and have people pre-order.
The meeting adjourned without concluding if the committee would pursue a farmers market.
“If there is interest, let me know and let’s see what develops,” Mr. Chase said.