A Look Into the Outer Banks Oyster Trail

by Megan Nichols on November 13, 2023 | Reprinted from The Outer Banks

Have you ever taken the time to consider where your seafood comes from? In North Carolina, we are immensely fortunate to have a thriving coast which offers fresh seafood ranging from locally caught fish to carefully grown oysters.

As lifelong North Carolina residents, we enjoy seafood and take pride in our state’s quality selection. We were excited to learn more about the efforts along our coast to participate in the ethical, sustainable farming of oysters.

If we relied solely on wild-caught oysters, we’d be doomed to only eat the shell-fish delicacy in the fall and winter seasons. Surviving half the year without oysters sounds like a nightmare to me! Thank goodness we have access to delicious oysters all year thanks to vigilant farmers.

In addition to ensuring our supply year round, oyster agriculture is beneficial to the environment. This sustainable form of farming enhances local ecosystems by restoring wild oyster populations and providing a safe habitat for other species to thrive.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is home to the perfect environment for raising oysters and we had a chance to learn about the local oyster farms during a recent tour with Cape Hatteras Oyster Company. They, along with a few others, work day in and day out to bring fresh, delicious oysters to some of our favorite restaurants across the state.

Here are a few stops on The North Carolina Oyster Trail that you should know about:

Cape Hatteras Oyster Company

We were lucky enough to experience first hand what goes into the operations at Cape Hatteras Oyster Company. Their farm is located on Hatteras Island where they grow oysters, offer tours, and sell oysters onsite as well as wholesale. The father and son duo were clearly passionate about their farm and it was a pleasure to meet them and learn more about sustainable shellfish agriculture.

Slash Creek Oyster Farm

Also located on Hatteras Island, Slash Creek Oyster Farm provides fascinating tours of their farm and gives guests an opportunity to learn from the owners. Spurgeon Stowe has been a Hatteras resident for five generations and has expansive knowledge of oyster farming, fishing, and crabbing. During the tour, Spurgeon shares interesting stories from his life as an oyster-growing Hatterasman.

Smith Oyster Company

Located in Nags Head in the famous Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, Smith Oyster Company operates an oyster farm as well as a charter boat that guests can board to tour the farms and harvest their own oysters! It’s a great opportunity to get hands-on experience and leave with a tasty haul.

Hopefully the next time you indulge on deliciously salty local oysters, you’ll now have an idea of where they came from. We hope you’ll take the time to schedule a tour to see this magic in action for yourselves!

© 2023 NC Oyster Trail.