Blue Island Oyster Company oyster farm, Long Island, N.Y.

Chris Quartuccio went from being a man with a van and some scuba gear — while selling clams and oysters he’d catch to restaurants in NYC and Long Island — to running a national operation.

His Blue Island Oyster Company now ships around the world, and has trucks and offices in Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The company even recently opened a farm-to-table restaurant in Denver, called Blue Island Oyster Bar.

But Blue Island, which is based in West Sayville, won’t have to travel far for a special delivery on July 31, when local oysters for a Blue Island raw bar (picture below) will be featured with a six-course menu at the Island to Table fundraiser for Homegrown Change.

The Island to Table outdoor dining experience in New Village will feature five local chefs cooking with local products.

Aside from raising money for sustainability projects, the event seeks to raise awareness about Long Island’s local food sources, from land and water. is Island to Table’s official media sponsor, and is showcasing some of the event’s food suppliers, like Blue Island.

“Blue Island basically got started with me digging clams out of the bay, maybe when I was 12, going to Browns River,” Quartuccio said. “It was probably 1995 that I started Blue Island Oyster Company and was harvesting clams from the bay and oysters from the Sound.”

He was at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, something that has exploded in recent years, carrying the company with it. And Quartuccio says people also eat out much more nowadays than they did just a couple decades ago, creating even more of a demand for fresh shellfish.

He also believes the popularity of sushi has allayed many peoples’ fears about eating raw.

Today, Blue Island is farming oysters in the Great South Bay, near Captree State Park. They offer guided kayak tours to the underwater farm.

Click here to learn more about the tours and to book.

Top photo: The Blue Island Oyster Company oyster farm near Captree. (courtesy)

Tickets for Island to Table are $150 per person. Click here to purchase tickets online. 

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Blue Island Oyster Company

An oyster bar similar to the one that will be set up at Island to Table. (courtesy)