Penn Cove Shellfish Farm History
Penn Cove Mussels, Inc. was established by the Jefferds family in June of 1975, in Coupeville Washington: In 1996 the company formed a joint venture with Coast Seafoods Company, America's largest oyster farm, the HAACP certified joint venture is now known and operated as Penn Cove Shellfish, LLC.
Since we were established, it has been the mission of Penn Cove Shellfish to be the premier producer and provider of the finest sustainably farmed shellfish products in the market today. Penn Cove Shellfish LLC. is the oldest and largest mussel farm in the United States, and our mussels have won top honors at international taste test competitions for their sweet flavor and fabulous texture. Along with our Penn Cove Mussels, we farm Mediterranean Mussels and we also wet store and distribute Manila Clams, Kumamoto Oysters and 26 varieties of Pacific Oysters which we receive from allied growers of the region.
Penn Cove is located 2 hours north of Seattle in Coupeville, Washington on scenic Whidbey Island and was chosen as our initial mussel farm site due to its unique hydrological and geographic features. Penn Cove is the most prolific mussel growing area on the West Coast due to our proximity to the Cascade Mountains and the geographical shape of Penn Cove which captures the fresh mountain river waters and the minerals they contain. Those factors combined with the sunshine provided by the rain shadow effect of the Olympic Mountains tends to turn Penn Cove into a bay of plankton soup to feed and grow our mussels and other shellfish.
At the present time, Penn Cove Shellfish grows and harvests approximately two million pounds of mussels per year from our two farms, one in Penn Cove and the other the other in Quilcene Bay, located in upper Hood Canal. We start production of our products at our own hatcheries and follow it through from planting, grow out, harvest and distribution. We do not feed or fertilize our shellfish, we only give them a place to grow and thrive. As a matter of fact, mussel farming provides habitat and ecosystem services for many species and adds to the overall health of the marine ecosystem.
Most days our two 64-foot, custom mussel harvesting vessels, the "Moule Mariner" and the "Mytilus" can be seen alongside our mussel rafts in Penn Cove and Quilcene Bay. Each of the mussel rafts may support between 900 to 2500 mussel lines and can yield up to 50 pounds of mussels on each line. The mussels take about 14 months to reach a harvestable size, so there is an ongoing rotation among the rafts between juvenile mussels and those ready to harvest, enabling year-round mussel production and optimum quality.
Good for you and good for the oceans; combining the work of conservation and public health organizations, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has identified farmed mussels, clams and oysters as "Super Green", meaning that they are a good seafood choice for human health and their production does not harm the oceans. These products are rated as a "Best Choice" on the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Green List, the Blue Ocean Institute Seafood Ranking guide and the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Seafood list.
Our Oysters and Clams
Along with our mussels we also distribute Manila Clams, Kumamoto oysters and 26 varieties of Pacific Oysters. The oysters are grown in cold Pacific waters way up in Northern British Columbia down to California and brought to Penn Cove weekly to wet store beneath the rafts next to the mussels. This wet storage allows our oysters and clams to purge any sand or grit and also to continue to feed, thrive and stay ocean fresh.
When it comes to live shellfish, fresh is always best. So our mussels, clams and oysters are harvested only after orders are placed and then shipped early the next morning, in most cases being delivered within 24 hours of being pulled from the water. We harvest and ship 5 days per week, every week of the year. At Penn Cove Shellfish we take great pride in our ability to offer the absolute freshest, highest quality shellfish; worldwide or just down the street, we only deliver the best.