Oysters, famously, draw their flavors from the water they’re grown in. But the way an oyster is grown also plays a big role in its flavor, texture, and appearance. Oysters grown loose on the bottom of a bay tend to develop tougher shells, for protection, than oysters grown in off-bottom cages. Many people also believe that the flavor of cage-grown oysters is more delicate. Tumbled oysters get very cupped and stubby, because their leading growing edge is continuously chipped off by the tumbling process, and their shells get smooth and polished.
Browse by cultivation for more details:
- Bags to Beach
- Off-Bottom Cages
- Rack and Bag
- Salt Pond
A mix of cultivation techniques
In reality, most oysters have a mix of cultivation techniques–all but truly wild ones are raised in bags when young, to protect them from predators–but for simplicity, OysteRater lists the cultivation technique used for the final growout stage, which has the biggest impact on the oyster.