Hi, I’m Rick.
And I love oysters.
I’m Rick Levin—inventor, entrepreneur and owner of Chip and Shuck, LLC. Some people may think I’m crazy about oysters… and they’d be right! My lifelong passion for enjoyment and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay has led directly to my favorite bivalve. The oyster. Crassostrea Virginica to be exact.
Oysters are one of nature’s mightiest conservationists and the foundation of clean waterways around the world. The eastern oyster—also called the Atlantic oyster, American oyster, or East Coast oyster—is a species of true oyster native to the eastern coasts of North and South America. It’s not only delicious, this oyster is one mighty little cleaning machine. Think of it! One little eastern oyster filters up to 50 gallons of water a day. The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) has known this fact for years and have been building oyster reefs with billions of oysters to help clean our bay.
Their efforts have been so successful on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, that I thought I’d start my own project closer to home. So I started an oyster farm on my Severn River pier!
Honey, I’m an oyster farmer
I started by collecting literally tons of used oyster shells from local restaurants and aging them on land to clean the shell. This used shell is where the oyster larvae will set and grow their entire lives. I then built an oyster farming system on my pier consisting of tanks with upwellers and circulation pumps, and populated it with disease-resistant oyster seed purchased from Horn Point Laboratory Oyster Hatchery. The operation has been very successful in improving the water quality in our cove. But how could I help others to understand the important of the oyster? Education.
So alongside my oyster farming operation, I installed a functioning oyster habitat display including a water wheel for children and adults to observe—an actual living oyster reef! Its cable-suspended grid base is attached to a boat lift, enabling it be raised to the surface to get a closer look at living oysters growing among other marine wildlife which the reef attracts.
As a successful businessman in many other ventures, I knew that marketing and publicity were the next step. That’s when I built “Oyster City”—an exciting, floating attraction with educational displays to draw attention from nearby boaters, kayakers, paddle boarders, and wave runners about what was going on just below the surface. I made it fun and colorful, and included some of my favorite facts about oysters.
Did we need another Oyster Opener?
As much as I love growing oysters and helping to save my little corner of the Bay, I really love to eat oysters. Raw, steamed, fried, stewed… you name it! After all, they’re not only delicious but healthful. But to eat more oysters, I needed a better oyster opener. One that could easily open the most stubborn shells without injury common when shucking with oyster knives. And a design that opens shells horizontally to prevent losing all that delicious oyster liquor! I searched high and low but found none that fit the bill. So I invented a completely new design. Eureka! The Chip and Shuck™.
There are so many innovative features on the Chip and Shuck™ Oyster Opener, it’s patented. In fact, its revolutionary design is why we nicknamed it “The Oyster Opener.” It simply HAS NO EQUAL. The Chip and Shuck is built with a heavy-duty, stainless steel, rack-and-pinion gear drive for controlled, effortless opening. It features a sturdy, composite base with non-slip feet. But the BIG SECRET is the Chip and Shuck’s built-in shell chipper. It chips the oyster shell’s edge to create a seam for the shucking wedge which separates the shell. This makes opening oysters shells faster and easier than ever! Chipping is performed by moving the lever forward and shucking by moving the lever downwards.
The Chip and Shuck quickly adjusts for all sizes of oysters and clams. It disassembles in seconds for cleaning and is dishwasher safe. There’s a shell clamp to protect your hand and steady the shell. Convenient adductor knife storage in the base for detaching the shucked oyster from the shell. And the Chip and Shuck opens shells horizontally, so you save all that delicious oyster liquor for slurping them raw!
You love oysters? Give the Chip and Shuck Oyster Opener a try! You’ll want one in your kitchen.