Hoopers Island Oyster Co. unveils 2nd edition tin

submitted to dorchester banner/jill jasuta Shown from left: Johnny Shockley, founding partner; Pat Johnson, Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester; Ricky Fitzhugh, managing partner; and Kevin Davidson, artist.

submitted to dorchester banner/jill jasuta
Shown from left: Johnny Shockley, founding partner; Pat Johnson, Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester; Ricky Fitzhugh, managing partner; and Kevin Davidson, artist.

CAMBRIDGE — Honoring the proud tradition of Maryland’s skipjacks and working watermen, Hoopers Island Oyster Co. debuted its 2018 commemorative oyster tin at a reception during Second Saturday festivities on Nov. 10 at Black Water Bakery in downtown Cambridge. Company officials were joined by the board of the Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester to unveil the special edition Chesapeake Heritage Oyster Tin.

Modeled after the oyster cans of the 19th and 20th centuries that are popular with antique collectors today, the 2nd annual one-gallon heritage tin features an original illustration by Cambridge artist Kevin Davidson. The drawing depicts the skipjack Nathan of Dorchester under sail passing the Hoopers Island Lighthouse.

Cans are $25 and available online and in Cambridge at the Hoopers Island Oyster Co. (837 Chesapeake Drive, Unit B) and Simmons Center Market (600 Race St.). A portion of proceeds benefit the Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester’s educational programs.

“We are excited to partner with the Dorchester Skipjack Committee to support their work promoting, preserving and protecting our rich oyster heritage and watermen culture,” said Founding Partner Johnny Shockley. “Recognized as the state boat of Maryland, skipjacks have harvested oysters in the Chesapeake Bay for 150 years.”

Mr. Shockley and Hoopers Managing Partner Ricky Fitzhugh commissioned Mr. Davidson to illustrate the skipjack to honor Dorchester County’s maritime heritage and commemorate the Nathan’s 25th anniversary. Launched in 1994, the Nathan provides authentic on-water educational experiences aboard a historic sailing vessel.

“The Dorchester Skipjack Committee is proud to sail the Nathan of Dorchester and share the maritime heritage of our community,” said Chair Patricia Johnson. “Being recognized by Hoopers Island on the second commemorative can is an honor and a true blend of old and new oyster history on the Choptank River and the Chesapeake Bay.”

Renowned nationally for his folk-art trade signs, artist Kevin Davidson was born and raised on the Eastern Shore. His signature vintage signs are painted freehand with a unique design technique creating an aged patina. They have been displayed in movies, restaurants, and homes around the world.

“I was inspired to create this illustration of the Nathan of Dorchester because of my work on skipjacks when I was younger,” said Mr. Davidson. “My father was also fond of photography and would often take pictures of the local skipjacks.”

For the second year, the can was designed by Cambridge graphic artist Jill Jasuta who wanted to give it a vintage feel inspired by the cans of the early to mid-1900s.
Mr. Fitzhugh said the company’s 2017 commemorative can, which featured an original painting of the Hoopers Island Lighthouse by Dorchester County artist Michael Rosato, was very popular with oyster lovers, Eastern Shore residents and collectors alike.

“We’re proud to again offer a one-of-a-kind keepsake gift this holiday season. Whether you love oysters, art or the Chesapeake, it’s the perfect celebration of our rich culture and traditions.”

The Hoopers Island Heritage Tin is also available with one or two pints of Chesapeake Gold oysters ($40 and $54 respectively) from the company’s Cambridge retail store at 837 Chesapeake Drive.

Maryland-based Independent Can Company in Belcamp again produced the Hoopers Island Heritage Oyster Tin. For more information or to place an order, please call 410-397-3664 or email info@hoopersisland.com.

Founded by watermen on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Hoopers Island Oyster Co. is guiding a new future for the oyster industry on the Chesapeake Bay and in coastal regions around the world. Its oyster farms on Maryland’s Eastern Shore combine leading-edge science with generations of experience on the water to produce premium oysters, grow seed and manufacture aquaculture equipment for consumers, growers and conservationists on the Chesapeake Bay and in coastal regions around the world. From seed to shuck, discover oyster farming, the watermen’s way.

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