Oysters are delicious and nutritious. They are very good for your health, being high in vitamin D and zinc.
If you live in North Carolina (NC) or happen to visit the area, then you should try oyster farming. There are many farms around the state where you can get fresh oysters every day.
If you are interested in pursuing this hobby, here is everything you need to know about Oyster farms in North Carolina.
What Are Oysters?
As you may already be aware, oysters are mollusks that belong to a group of marine animals called bivalves.
The word “bivalve” comes from two Latin words: bis meaning twice and valva meaning valve.
This means that these creatures have two shells. They are also known as shellfish because they grow inside an outer hard shell which protects them from predators.
Oysters are found all over the world. However, most oysters are now farmed. These mollusks can either be eaten raw or when cooked. When people eat oysters, they usually consume the meat.
After all, the shell will be near impossible to eat. The meat is often served with lemon juice, butter, salt, pepper, and other spices.
Some people prefer eating oyster meat alone without any accompaniments.
Moreover, many people have considered oysters to be an aphrodisiac for centuries. This means that it has been said that oysters stimulate sexual desire.
However, there is no proof that this belief is true. If you are curious about this myth, you can always test it yourself.
In terms of their nutritional value, oysters are rich in protein, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamins B12, C, and D.
Though they are healthy, oysters will not be eaten by vegans and most vegetarians. However, lots of pescatarians and meat-eaters will happily eat them.
What Are Oyster Farms?
Oyster farms are places where oysters are grown. People who want to cultivate oysters must first find suitable locations.
Then, they must make sure that the water is clean enough for the oysters to thrive. Once this is done, they need to provide the right environment for the oysters to grow.
Finally, they should ensure that the oysters are fed properly so that they can produce more oysters.
Oyster Farming In North Carolina
Cape Fear Oyster Company
This is one of the greatest oyster farms in North Carolina. The company was founded by two friends, a heartwarming origin that we adore.
Since its creation, the company has expanded its operations. This company owns two farms, meaning that you can choose the one that works best for you.
While one is located in South Carolina, the other can be found in the welcoming arms of North Carolina. This is located in Figure Eight Island.
The farm found in Figure Eight Island boasts an impressive 2.35 acres. Because it is located so close to the sea, oysters here have quite a salty taste.
If this is how you like your oysters to be seasoned, you may want to consider farming here.
Perhaps what sets this farm apart from its rivals is the unique growing techniques that they use. For example, they use a system of floating cages.
This allows the oysters to breathe while being protected from predators. The oysters are bought out of the water once or twice a week, allowing them to bask in the sun.
This allows the oyster meat to become more tender.
If you are eager to visit this farm, we recommend staying at the Shell Island Resort. Though this may not be the closest hotel, its beachfront location makes it an ideal holiday destination.
Plus, it is near the Mayfaire Town Center, which will delight fans of shopping. It is fairly easy to travel from this hotel to the Cape Fear Oyster farm.
This is because the hotel has lots of convenient travel routes.
This is another great oyster farm in Middle Sound, North Carolina. The farm was founded by a group of oyster farmers who wanted to create a sustainable and eco-friendly business model.
Middle Sound is a lovely area with plenty of natural beauty. As such, it is perfect for those looking to enjoy nature.
The company has a second location in Stump, Topsail Beach. If you are a passionate oyster farmer, you can visit both locations.
Both are located near inlets, which allow ocean water to enter the farms.
Soundside Salt uses innovative cages to keep their oysters. These cages have been assembled in South Carolina, meaning that you can see fairly local craftsmanship at work.
If you want to visit the Topsail Beach farm, the Shell Island Resort will be the ideal place to stay. With gorgeous beach views, you will have an incredibly relaxing experience.
The hotel has plenty of desirable features. This resort is perfect for families, meaning you may want to consider it for your next vacation.
Carolina Mariculture Co.
If you are looking for a wholesome atmosphere, this family-owned business will be the perfect place. They encourage people to buy locally, a sentiment that we could not agree more with.
These oysters are farmed throughout the year, meaning that you do not have to find them in specific seasons.
Their farming methods ensure that the oysters are similar in size and shape. As a result, you do not need to be worried about getting an oyster that is too small.
Instead, this guarantees that all customers have similar experiences.
Though it is smaller than other farms, the Carolina Mariculture company has an intimate feel to it. They are based in Cedar Island, a small coastal community with a welcoming vibe.
If you visit North Carolina, we strongly encourage you to visit both this area and this farm. Because it is such a minute community, there are not tons of hotels for you to stay in.
The Inlet Inn is a lovely place to stay, though it is about 2 hours away from this oyster farm.
Like the area in which it resides, the hotel is not as big as some of the other ones suggested in this list. However, it still has an incredibly inviting atmosphere.
Lighthouse Shoal Oyster Company
Our final farming recommendation comes in the form of the Lighthouse Shoal Oyster Company.
With an emphasis on local produce, this sustainable company will be perfect for lovers of oysters. Their produce is delicious, creating mouth-watering oysters.
They use seed oysters, meaning that they do not have to rely on wild oysters. This business is based in the Merritt area of NC.
Tips For Cooking Oysters
If you have never cooked oysters before, do not panic. Here are some tips to help you:
- You may want to season the oysters. You can add salt or pepper, depending on how much flavor you like. Be sure not to use too much salt, as oysters themselves can be fairly salty.
- Do not overcook them. It is best to cook them just until they open.
- Oyster shells make for effective presentations. After all, they have quite a unique aesthetic.
- Oysters do not take very long to cook. The time will vary depending on what method you use. However, most methods will take less than 5 minutes. As a result, they are great simple starters.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does It Cost To Start An Oyster Farm?
It costs about $30,000 to get started on an oyster farm. However, if you already own land, you can save money by using it as a base.
Though this is the case, not all land will be suitable for oyster farming. You will also need to buy equipment, such as cages.
If you have quite a large business, you may also need to spend money on hiring employees. After all, you may not be able to manage the farm by yourself.
What Do I Need to Start My Own Oyster Farm?
You need to know how to care for oysters. Having a passion for this job will help you to start your business. Otherwise, you may end up doing a job that you do not enjoy.
Also, you need to know how to identify different types of oysters. Finally, you need to know where to find oyster shells.
In terms of what objects you will need, we listed some of these above. This may include cages, land, and employees.
Why Are Oyster Farms Popular?
Oyster farming is one of the most popular jobs around the world. There are many reasons why people love to grow oysters.
First, there is the delicious food that comes from these tasty bivalves. Second, there is the fact that oyster farms are good for the environment.
They are sustainable, allowing people who feel that fishing is unethical to still eat seafood. Third, oysters are very nutritious (as stated previously).
Plus, they give you the opportunity to experience the outdoors.
Oyster farms are a great day out. However, they are not for everyone. If you have never gone to one before, you may want to give it a try.
As you can see from this list, there are a few fantastic oyster farms in North Carolina. If you happen to be in the area, you should check some of these farms out.