May to October, Monday - Sunday, 8am - 3:30pm
November to April, Monday - Friday, 8am - 3pm
Since 1895, the Ballard family has been providing world-class clams and oysters to customers far and wide. From propagating shellfish seeds to planting to harvesting, they run one of the most comprehensive aquaculture operations on the East Coast. Visit Cherrystone and not only purchase shellfish but schedule a tour of their facility as well.
Shellfish seeds are cultivated and nurtured from microscopic organisms until they reach a size that can be “planted” on shellfish grounds acquired by the Ballard family over the last hundred years or so.
After the indoor hatchery and nursery phase, the young clams are transferred to outdoor upwellers, where they receive a constant flow of natural seawater, in preparation for their transfer to beds in the Chesapeake Bay.
Juvenile clams grow in protected trays in sheltered waters for 18-30 months. Once they reach market size, seasoned watermen carefully harvest them. Each year, Cherrystone produces 65-100 million littleneck clams.