Foods & Drink

New Bern oyster farmer revives industry with sustainability in mind

New Bern resident Ryan Bethea’s like affair with the aphrodisiacs of the sea has not been a lifelong flirtation. In reality, he was in his 20s operating as a bartender the first time he slurped down an oyster.

But, this has not stopped his small business, Oysters Carolina, from dominating North Carolina’s shellfish scene and attaining amazing recognition considering the fact that its founding in 2015.

Oysters Carolina has been highlighted by publications like P.B.S., Cuisine Noir, N.P.R. and Our State Magazine—something the native Durhamite holds as just one of his proudest times. He has gained acknowledgement from Gov. Roy Cooper and won “Oyster of the Year” award in 2016 at the North Carolina Seafood Pageant.

Sheer enthusiasm, emphasis on good quality and sustainable farming are pillars for Bethea.

“We are very pleased to be equipped to serve North Carolinians. It is a great deal of people’s 1st oyster, which is fairly amazing because it is so fresh, that working day out of the drinking water,” Bethea said. “We are really very pleased to be capable to deliver contemporary North Carolina seafood to North Carolinians.”

From his 5.25-acre farm in Westmouth Bay off of Harker’s Island, Bethea provides oysters totally free of demand harvested new that working day to everywhere in North Carolina—sometimes clocking 14-hour times and traveling 400 miles for mountain deliveries.

He prides himself on the freshness of his mollusks, demonstrating shoppers photographs with timestamps of their oysters remaining picked.

Oysters Carolina operates out of Harker's Island.

North Carolina’s oyster farming sector generating a comeback

However North Carolinians have an affinity for feasting on oysters, the state’s farming sector drastically lags guiding its neighbor to the north, Virginia. In 2017, oyster farmers in Virginia built $13.5 million additional in sales than their North Carolina counterparts.

The number of oyster farm leases has been steadily expanding in North Carolina, with 106 lease apps in 2019 in contrast to 81 full in between 2009 and 2016.

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