Perry Raso started digging littlenecks in Point Judith Pond when he was 12 years old. He grew up wild- harvesting shellfish, eel trapping, bull-raking clams and scuba diving for steamers. Before Perry Raso opened Matunuck Oyster Bar, he was an oyster farmer. Raso has bachelors and master’s degrees from URI in aquaculture and fisheries technology.He founded Matunuck Oyster Farm in 2002, on a seven-acre commercial aquaculture lease, on Potter Pond in East Matunuck (South Kingstown), Rhode Island. Raso began his oyster farm with a grant from the Reed Aquaculture initiative. At this location, the shellfish nursery, grow-out and maintenance take place. Matunuck oysters are sold to restaurants and stores in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Maryland, and Georgia. Visitors can tour the farm to see how the oysters are raised and how they get directly from the water to the plate.This pond is also where Perry’s vision for Matunuck Oyster Bar restaurant and raw bar was born. The concept for Matunuck Oyster Bar is “simple food, fairly priced, fresh products, and making sure everybody leaves happy.” Matunuck Oyster Farm supplies the Pond to Plate concept for the restaurant with fresh oysters harvested right off the waterfront patio in the pond. The restaurant opened in 2009 and has received numerous awards. Recently, the restaurant won four first place awards in the Providence Journal’s Readers’ Choice contest for best seafood restaurant, best calamari, best lobster roll and best outdoor dining.The Farm to Table mission statement comes full circle with fresh vegetables grown on Perry Raso’s own vegetable farm on Potter Pond in Matunuck, RI. The property was originally owned by Captain John Potter in the 18th century, where a vegetable farm was operated and used for trade. Matunuck Vegetable Farm received organic certification in 2015 and fresh herbs and vegetables are grown and harvested all year. The vegetable farm supplies the restaurant with organic produce and these are also sold at farmer’s markets throughout the state.Raso and his restaurant and oyster farm have received national acclaim in publications including the New York Times, National Geographic, USA Today, Yankee Magazine, the Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune. His business was featured on the PBS show “Start Up”. In 2016 he gave a TedX talk in Providence sharing his story and outlining the “Importance of Sustainable Aquaculture in Our Future”. The talk has been viewed over 10,000 times.Raso understands the importance of giving back. Ever since he graduated and founded his oyster farm, Raso has been a Coastal Fellows mentor. He is also a supporter of community endeavors from the Run4Kerri race to Welcome House, and the Westerly Warm Center. Matunuck Oyster Bar has held fundraisers to benefit local worthy causes.Raso is on the Board of the South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce and Matunuck Oyster Bar has held an Earth Day Beach Cleanup every year for 11 years at East Matunuck State Beach when volunteers from the community come and remove tons of debris from the beach and Succotash Salt Pond.Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Perry Raso and other top speakers and celebrities.