CAMBRIDGE — Hoopers Island Oyster Co. is ramping up production of its smoked sea salt-infused oysters served on the half shell at Dogfish Head’s Chesapeake & Maine restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and they’re now available online to consumers for the first time in 50- and 100-count bags.

Robust in flavor, “Chesapeake Smokes” are raised in floating mesh bags on the Hoopers Island farm and finished in smoked sea salt-infused water at the company’s post-harvest, wet storage facility.

The length of the infusion process – six to 24 hours according to Managing Partner Ricky Fitzhugh – varies by water temperature and salinity at harvest with warmer months requiring less time for the oysters to filter the waters and ingest the natural smoked flavoring.

Fitzhugh said the oysters are firm in texture with high salinity and offer a subtle, smoky flavor that finishes with a burst of earthy, fruity sensations.

“We first partnered with Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione to produce ‘Smoke in the Water’ oysters served at the Chesapeake & Maine raw bar beginning in 2016,” Fitzhugh said. “With the introduction of our online store earlier this year, we can now offer ‘Smokes’ to our half shell customers across the United States and for local delivery.”

The Hoopers team recently joined Calagione in Rehoboth Beach for the re-opening of Chesapeake & Maine as COVID-19 restrictions lift.

“It was great to see Sam and reminisce about his original idea of infusing hops to create a new flavor profile that would be attractive to Dogfish Head’s customers,” Fitzhugh added. “It didn’t work but that led to infusing with smoked sea salt. The oysters have been a staple on the Chesapeake & Maine menu ever since.”

Hoopers’ Chesapeake Gold oysters are also sold at Chesapeake & Maine where they are paired with Chef Ray Giangeruso’s mignonette sauce made with Dogfish Head’s new Blueberry Shrub Vodka Soda.

Fitzhugh says there are three advance online ordering options for Chesapeake Smokes: FedEx standard overnight delivery, local delivery within a 30-mile radius of Cambridge or local pick-up.

Hoopers’ online store at also offers Chesapeake Gold Oysters in the shell or by the pint, shirts and merchandise, shucking gear, party packs, heritage oyster tins, and limited edition signed prints of the 2020 “Blue Heron at Low Tide” tin.

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