What a Day! 100 crabs, a bushel of oysters and a great crowd of 30+ folks. Our 2 harvesting boats left the marina around 1:30 to load up for the 3:30 feast.
Captain Marty’s boat and the Mahoney’s Oyster Farm
Joe’s Island Oysters
Thousands of beautiful Big Bay, Masonboro Oysters
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Widespread throughout Virginia, oyster farming is a relatively new fishery in North Carolina. It’s a wonderful way to get excelent seafood while keeping our local waters pristine as the oysters filter the water as they grow.
Most of the local farms are concentrated in the back bays behind Masonboro’s barrier island. Since Captain Tyler’s crew needed a low tide to gather oysters from natural oyster beds, it made for a difficult trip in skinny water for Marty and the Mahoneys. A good part of the journey required Marty and Joe Mahoney to push the boats in hip waders!
The ladies were able to board the Mahoney’s boat and reach the farm first. Jay Mahoney gave them a front row seat to see the equipment and techniques used in the harvesting process. I was told it was like watching the filming of a PBS documentary! As local as it gets and a truly incredible product. Every oyster is perfectly shaped and looks like it belongs on the half shell in a 5 star restaurant. See below for many more pictures of the farm.
Captain Tyler’s boat – Natural oyter beds and crabbing
With our large tide range, another way to gather oysters is to wait for a low tide and find some natural oyster beds. While many beds show up right around Wrightsville Beach, be sure to check the Division of Marine Fisheries website as many areas are open. We headed up to Figure 8 Island to a pre picked spot I’ve used before and there was already 2 boats oystering there! Luckily we were able to find this spit that just grew for us as the tide finished ebbing. The five of us searched, broke off select size oysters off clusters, cleaned and stored for about an hour. Well worth it, we were able put many dozens of beautiful oysters on ice. The key to harvesting oysters this way is to have a good pair of rubber boots or waders and durable gloves. From there it was time to pick up our crab pots.
Wow! I was expecting a pretty good haul but not triple digits! We probably would have been late for the feast if Todd Davenport wasn’t such a good pot shaker. November is the time to get your crabs as they’re not only plentiful but packed full of meat as they prepare to go dormant for the winter. With Thanksgiving and the Flotilla coming up along family coming into town we decided to rebait the pots. Crab Queso anyone? Stay tuned for the recipe!
It was a good thing we were so successful as we had over 30 people show up to the docks! All the guests were very gracious and brought delicious side items and drinks. We got our money’s worth out of the steamer as we ended up having 5 pot fulls of crabs and 4 of oysters. And how about this sunset?!?
Our last cookout of 2017 could not have gone better! Great to see all the members that came as well as meeting a some new folks. Be sure to get your next bushel of oysters from Joe’s Island Oysters, I promise they will not dissapoint! Happy Thanksgiving to everybody and hope you can make it out for the Holiday Float-In. Details to follow.