Meet the Farmers
Andrew Wilhelm began his shellfishing career at the age of 19 and has been hooked ever since. Working as a deck-hand for the largest Milford-owned and operated firm, Briarpatch Enterprises, Andrew was promoted to captain in just two years and began operating a seed oyster vessel. Most recently, he managed a local 27-acre oyster farm and was responsible for all water-based operations and management. Through this experience, he was able to learn and perfect the art of commercial shellfishing.
While on a stint as a lobsterman in Maine, Andrew purchased his first commercial boat, the “Gayle G” at age 25. Everyone knows it’s bad luck to change the name of a boat, so Andrew decided to name his business after his classic and trusty lobster boat. Since then, Gayle G Enterprises has been subcontracted to manage shellfish operations around Connecticut.
In 2022, Gayle G Enterprises has a great opportunity to acquire 50-acres of certified shellfish grounds along an outlet of the Housatonic River. The preparation of oyster beds on 20 acres of this site will lay the grounds for a thriving natural oyster and clam bed with sustainable harvest for years to come.
Gayle G Enterprises plans to build on the existing relationships Andrew holds with distributors during the first year of production. Two local distributors will serve as clients while direct-to-consumer, farmers markets, and other wholesale accounts are established. Gayle G Enterprises is excited for this rare opportunity to steward a natural shellfish bed and begin their first harvest during the summer of 2022.
Regenerative & Sustainable Practices
Gayle G Enterprises utilizes the following techniques to achieve its mission of building and sustaining healthy shellfish beds, all while contributing to the economic and ecological health of their local community:
- Shell-shifting and stirring promote natural growth and seeding by creating an environment in which oysters thrive.
- Sustainable harvest management techniques are utilized to ensure natural populations of oysters for subsequent years.
- Oysters are natural filter feeders, meaning they feed by pumping water through their gills. A single healthy oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day. By creating a sustainable oyster bed, Gayle G Enterprises is working to improve water quality for other aquatic life.
- Employing a team of 6 crewmates provides critical training and experience for new workers in the industry.