These fat, juicy, oysters can go to market anytime of the year.
Seaview Crab Company currently offers two choices for cultivated oysters: Beaufort and Stump Sound.
“The Stump Sound is a bigger, saltier oyster, while the Beaufort has a sweeter finish and a medium salt content,” explains Nathan King, one of Seaview’s owners. “We are planning to expand the cultivated oyster line at our markets.”
From about mid-March to mid-October the “wild” oyster harvesting season is closed, in order to give the wild oysters an opportunity to spawn.
Wild oysters which have spawned will lose as much as 64 percent of body weight, while the cultured oysters keep getting bigger, fatter and juicier as they grow.
“We, in North Carolina, are a little behind on the cultured oyster market,” King says. “Virginia, Maryland and all over the Chesapeake area, have been doing this for a while now.”
Economically, the oyster aquaculture provides a boon to coastal communities, supports industries and brings additional income for the state.
Culturing oysters involves yearly planting and harvesting to maintain a sustained harvest.
Cultured oysters are always grown on leases in open or conditionally open waters with strict monitoring by N. C. Shellfish Sanitation.
Like the wild oyster, the cultivated oyster shouldn’t be eaten raw, but can be enjoyed baked, steamed, fried or grilled.