Middle Peninsula Spring Oyster Fair April18, 2020

Gwynn's Island Civic Center


The TOGA-sponsored Annual Spring Oyster Fair will be held April 18 at the Gwynn's Island Civic Center, 1996 Old Ferry Rd, Hudgins, VA 23076. Directions and the program follow.

Directions- Many mapping services do not accurately direct you to the Civic Center. When you cross the bridge to Gwynn's Island, you will be on Cricket Hill Rd. Keep straight onto Old Ferry Road for 1.6 miles, then turn right, still on Old Ferry Road and after 150 yards, the Civic Center is the white building on the right with a horseshoe driveway in front.


9:00 AM – Registration begins with coffee, fruit, breakfast rolls, etc.


9:00 to 10:00 – Vendors of oyster gardening equipment, spat and supplies are invited to display their wares for sale. Spat availability is uncertain at this time due to the cold winter. Normally, spat are larger this time of year because they were spawned in the previous fall. This is also a good time to question Master Oyster Gardeners and vendors about your gardening issues.


10:00 to 10:10 – Remarks by TOGA President Terry Lewis including a preview of upcoming events.


10:10 to 11:00 – We are happy to welcome back our old friend

and VIMS advisor Mike Oesterling, Executive Director of the

Shellfish Growers of Virginia, who will be our feature speaker.

Mike was TOGA's first VIMS Advisor and was responsible for

many of the educational programs, such as the Master Oyster

Gardener Course, that made it possible for non-professionals

to have private oyster gardens. He was essential to the founding

and early growth of TOGA. He worked hard for TOGA from about 1997 to 2011 when he retired from VIMS. The TOGA/VIMS Student Fellowship Endowment was named to honor Mike and Jackie Partin, TOGA President Emeritus.


Commercial Oyster Culture in Virginia - Status and Challenges

Mike will review the current commercial industry, highlighting how his association (Shellfish Growers of Virginia) fits in, and then address some of the current issues facing the industry.


11:00 to 11:20 – For new oyster gardeners, Vic Spain will discuss How to Get Started Oyster Gardening. Details include how to get spat (oyster seed) and when best to deploy, equipment needed (on display) and how to maintain it, how many per cage, how long to harvest, sanitation, how to get help, helpful literature, etc. We had several “critter” problems reported recently, so we will discuss those problems and possible solutions. You are welcome to share your experiences and questions. Experienced gardeners should feel free to skip this portion, but are welcome to join the discussion.