OSH is an independent and innovative shellfish hatchery that embraces technology as a means to advance our own operations and the larger aquaculture industry, adopting a “tech forward” approach to support the “growing edge.” We are a recognized leader in developing products and techniques to support oyster production. Since our inception in 2008, we have been a trusted source of seed and expert advice to oyster growers, while also opening our doors to public tours that provide educational insight into the rarified world of shellfish hatchery production.
OSH aims to be the premier independent supplier of high-quality shellfish seed. We are unique in this position because we have not sought vertical integration, allowing the company to put the needs of our customers first and consistently provide the best quality seed.
callis wharf, gwynn's island, va
OSH started in 2008 as a result of a large unmet demand for oyster seed in the Chesapeake Bay region. OSH was self-funded by a large player in the seafood processing sector of Virginia. Mike Congrove was hired from the start and was instrumental in designing and building the bricks-and-mortar facility. In 2014, Congrove purchased the hatchery from the original owner and has run it as President since. Up to 2021, there has been no formal R&D presence, but OSH has been innovating in the “back room” so to speak. In 2021, we formalized our R&D presence by taking on an R&D Coordinator and an R&D Manager. In 2020 we also be formalizing our outreach efforts to bring the hatchery side of the shellfish farming experience to the consumer with in-depth hatchery tours.
meet the team
Introducing a woman who loves everything “oyster”...meet Gretchen! Gretchen began working at OSH in 2020 as our seed and nursery technician. With a background in biology and a passion for the health of the Bay, she quickly immersed herself in the industry and has experience working in all stages of oyster culture from hatcheries to local farms. When she isn’t caring for millions of baby oysters, Gretchen enjoys gardening, game night with friends and collecting vintage oyster cans-she has 30 and counting! Originally from Salem, Virginia, Gretchen has deep family roots in the Northern Neck, but currently lives in Mathews along with her dog, 5 cats, and 13 chickens. Out of all of her responsibilities, likely the most important is making sure our crew (and our oysters) have good music to jam out to during the workday.
Fun facts about Gretchen:
Gretchen has come to the rescue of several creatures that made the hatchery their home including a stray cat and her 7 kittens and an abandoned duck egg she incubated and raised. Her favorite animal is a whale shark. She makes a mean oyster Rockefeller!
An aquarist turned aquaculturist, Scott joined the OSH crew in 2020 as our broodstock manager. With an early interest in all things saltwater aquariums, water chemistry and filtration, its no wonder Scott ended up in the hatchery world...and we’re glad he did! Scott’s dedication to the oyster industry has taken him from working on local oyster farms and hatcheries all the way to Hawaii where he spent some time growing clams. When he isn’t tending to the needs of our broodstock, Scott enjoys cooking, repurposing/fixing anything and hitting the ski slopes. Originally a native of Williamsburg, VA, Scott now lives here in Mathews.
Fun facts about Scott:
Scott was born in Arizona. He is a certified scuba diver (you bet that came in handy in Hawaii!)
Joining OSH from fisheries, Alex has been serving up nutritious phytoplankton for our oysters since April, 2022! Alex carries a Marine Science degree from Stockton University, where she served as a research assistant researching wild oysters and helping with oyster restoration. She also held previous positions as an APAIS technician and field and laboratory technician in the fisheries industry. From New Jersey, she became hooked on aquaculture when working on initiatives first hand with Barnegat Bay Oyster Collective. She was drawn to OSH due to the fast pace environment and learning environment. On her free time, Alex enjoys hiking, playing video games, caring for her house plants, and arts and crafts.
Fun facts about Alex:
Algae and oysters are not the only things she keeps alive. Alex has pet garden snails and a rabbit named Spike. She loves to listen to pop punk, emo, and alternative music.
Growing oysters is her thing, but eating them is not. Born and raised in the Blue Ridge mountains of Bedford, VA, Kasey is our hatchery manager and has worked for OSH since 2016. Along with handling customer service and sales, one of Kasey’s primary responsibilities is conducting weekly spawns and taking care of our oyster larvae. She enjoys the challenge and fast paced nature of hatchery work and says that sometimes it truly doesn’t feel like “work” at all. When she’s not at the hatchery, Kasey enjoys fishing, reading, camping and hanging out with her family in Bedford. Coming in second for the longest commute award,, Kasey lives near Tappahannock with her husband and their two dogs, Daisy and June.
Fun Facts about Kasey:
She is a fan of country music, the TV show “The Big Bang Theory,” and anything made with caramel. She says pineapple DOES belong on pizza. She is proud owner of double citations of striped bass caught in the Chesapeake Bay, both over 50lbs!
Sam is our manager of research and development and started working at OSH in 2021. Her primary role is leading our growing suite of research projects and collaborations. A native of New Jersey, her passion for marine biology has taken her up and down the east coast. As an undergraduate, Sam participated in a shark tagging program in Belize, studied lobster fishery dynamics in her home state, and worked as a fisheries technician for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Sam has also studied in the Florida Keys assessing the suitability of saltwater quarries for Caribbean king crab mariculture for her graduate degree research. In her free time, Sam enjoys fishing, painting, and hanging out with her dog, Penny.
Fun Facts about Sam:
Sam has a beekeeping certificate. When she’s not studying a marine animal, she’s drawing one! Check out her small business called “Scaled Up” on Etsy where you’ll find stickers of all kinds of marine creatures. Scary movies are her favorite!
Casey joined our team in February, 2022 as a shellfish hatchery technician. Essentially, he is a much needed extra set of hands for every department in the hatchery to help things run smoothly, especially in the algae batch room. His interests in oysters started summer after freshman year in college working for Echo Hill Outdoor School. Casey helped lead studentimmersion trips on the upper Chesapeake Bay by canoe, buyboat, and a historical Skipjack. Showing kids the importance of oysters to the Bay ecosystem, specifically cleaning dirty water, is what got him hooked. Casey grew up in Arlington but relocated to Yorktown after graduating as an Environmental Biology major from CNU, and getting his Masters degree in Environmental Science. After writing his thesis on artificial oyster reefs and shoreline erosion, he was drawn to OSH because of the "people and energy" they brought to the industry.
Fun Facts about Casey:
In 2022, Casey hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, completing the 2194.3 mile footpath in 157 days from Maine to Georgia.
Stan joined the OSH crew in 2021 as our coordinator of research and development. Interestingly enough, Stan claims he was never on a trajectory to be a scientist. It wasn’t until his time as a graduate student that he got hooked on aquaculture. During his career in academia, Stan created and directed oyster breeding programs at Rutgers University and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science where he later retired as professor emeritus in April of 2021. His extensive work in shellfish genetics and polyploidy revolutionized the aquaculture industry with the commercialization of triploid oysters. His hobbies include spending time with his grandchildren, reading anything non-fiction and getting out on the water as much as possible. Stan is a native of Massachusetts but has called Virginia home since 1997.
Fun Facts about Stan:
“Stan” is short for “Standish”- he hated the name growing up until he realized it was so rare. Stan has essentially been part of OSH from its inception in 2008, since it is in his neighborhood. He loves a good game of racquetball.
Undertaking the job of running a hatchery is not for the faint of heart. Lucky for us (and our farmers), Mike isn’t one to back down from a challenge. After finishing graduate school, Mike was hired as hatchery manager of OSH in 2009 and later became sole owner of the company in 2014. A man of many talents, his specialty lies in designing, engineering and implementing systems that maximize the performance of our larvae and seed. Mike is constantly striving to find ways to improve hatchery production through developing innovative technology, collaborating on research and development projects and always preparing to be one step ahead of potential environmental issues. Aside from running a business, one of Mike’s greater accomplishments is his role as husband and father to his four daughters. His spare time is spent taking his family on any sort of outdoor adventure whether it’s camping, sailing, kayaking or taking a picnic out on the beach. Originally from Hampton, VA, Mike and his family now live in Mathews.
Fun Facts about Mike:
His middle name is spawn! Almost... its Spohn. Named after his great grandparents who owned a commercial plumbing business, which turns out isn't all that far from owning a hatchery... The un-sung hero of OSH is his wife Heather, who for more than a decade has allowed Mike to bury way too much time into this place!!
The hatchery's only social science hire, Emily, brings a different perspective to OSH! Emily was hired in March, 2022 as our business assistant, helping with anything from bookkeeping, logistics, to marketing. Emily comes from a non-profit background, having worked for international aid organizations, conflict & peacebuilding groups, women's empowerment
initiatives, ecotourism & economic development. Growing up in Mathews, she has always appreciated the Bay's ecosystem, especially living in proximity to an Atlantic Flyway zone for migrating birds. Emily has a degree in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from GMU. She looks forward to strengthening OSH advocacy - connecting more audiences to the incredible work of the OSH team and aquaculture industry.
Fun Fact about Emily:
Emily and her partner Will flipped a house and named it after a fish. It's now a boutique vacation rental on Main Street named Sugartoad Cottage!