Oregon Dungeness Crab is the biggest commercial fishery on the Southern Oregon Coast and is a unique commodity. It’s economic impact on the South Coast and the various ways individuals and families can enjoy this Oregon delicacy cannot be understated. You can get a taste of this delicacy at the 35th Annual Charleston Crab Feed coming up on February 9th from 11 AM to 3 PM at the North Bend Community Center where the Charleston Merchants will be serving up fresh Oregon Dungeness Crab meals, homemade desserts and have great prize drawings!Read More
This blog series on community, industry, and business in Southwest Oregon from the Port’s perspective.
After 8 years of being a commercial fisherman, Tyler expanded Long Fisheries operations through the lease of dock 15 along the Charleston working waterfront. With the addition of the dock, Long Fisheries provides a place for out of town buyers from LA to British Columbia, Canada to conduct business in Charleston.Read More
Tarheel Aluminum was started in 1989 by Tim Bohem in his garage on Tarheel Lane along Cape Arago Highway. Shortly after, the business grew and relocated to the Charleston Shipyard. In 2000, Ray Cox bought the business when his son, Kyle Cox, was in high school. It was during this time that Kyle learned a lot about the business and slowly over the years has taken the reigns to run Tarheel Aluminum. He became the official owner in July, 2016.Read More
Last year, the Port wrote a feature on Fishermen’s Wharf in our “From the Source” series. This year, we revisit this Charleston Marina icon again with its new owners, Will and Shanda Smith. The Smith’s look forward to carrying on the legacy of Fishermen’s Wharf by continuing to value the food, quality, fishermen, customers and the Charleston community.Read More
With more than 600 acres of tide lands, Clausen Oysters is the largest oyster farm in all of Oregon. Lilli and Max Clausen started the farm in the 1980s and in January of this year, sold it to four new owners from Southern California who she met through the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA). Port staff met with two of the owners, Norm Abell and Rebecca Richards who run the day-to-day operations of the oyster farm.Read More
Located out in Charleston, Qualman Oyster Farms was established in 1937 and at that time it was the only oyster farm in town. Its current owner, Larry Qualman, took over the business in 1962 and is an oyster farming veteran. Through the pictures (below), you get a sense of Larry’s fondness for oyster farming and the hard work that goes into it.
For those who do not know, most oysters are not harvested from the wild (which I thought…clueless Willamette Valley girl right here!) Oysters are actually grown from seeds. These seeds are created from larvae oysters that attach to oyster shells. In the past, Qualman oysters used to buy their seeds from Miyage, Japan. However, now they are able produce their own.
When the seeds are ready, they are set on top of the stake, in a small groove attached by wires. The stakes are then planted up the South Slough where it takes about 24-30 months to grow the oyster. There is no particular “oyster season” as they can be grown all year round. Afterward, the oysters are harvested and brought back to the facility. There, his staff will separate and shuck them. Qualman oysters are unique in that they are all hand grown, handpicked and local. Since the oysters grow out in the South Slough sanctuary, they taste a bit different than oysters harvested from the bay. The water at the sanctuary is away from houses so the water is clean and pristine. Larry describes them as nice, sweet, and the best oysters out there.
When asked about what he likes most about oyster farming, it’s very simple, he likes getting up early at low tide, heading up the slough, watching the birds and checking on the oysters. It’s a simple life but one that contributes to the economic backbone of Charleston.