As the eastern-most hamlet on Long Island’s North Fork, Orient was established within the town of Southold in 1640. Originally named Poquatuck by local native Americans, and later named Oyster Ponds because of the nearby oyster beds in the surrounding waterways, the hamlet officially became Orient in 1836. The harbors and fertile land attracted fisherman, farmers, and tradesmen, who began building their homes and businesses as early as 1661.
The hamlet was originally settled by five local families, one of which being the Tuthill family, that founded Oysterponds Shellfish Company.
Oyster farming dates as far back as the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Mesoamericans. With maintaining a food supply being a chief factor in their survival, they soon learned where to harvest and grow their own oysters. Nutrient-rich saltwater estuaries proved to be where the shellfish thrived, and with newly adapted methods, the oyster farmer was born. “Sometimes this was a simple local operation, as in Long Island’s Great South Bay, where oysters were started on the low-salt east side (fed by rivers and protected by Fire Island) and finishes on the exposed west side.”
Oyster farming on Long Island itself began in the early 1800s, as Bluepoint oysters became a popular staple in New York dining. Towards the end of the century, these popular oysters no longer grew in the wild, and harvesters had begun to farm their own the meet the demand.