Cedar Island Select Oysters: The Downeast version of champagne

Carolina Mariculture Co., owned and operated by Jay and Jennifer Styron, is a small, family-owned, oyster farm located on Cedar Island, NC about 30 miles northeast of Beaufort.

The area is beautiful and the nutrient-rich, saline waters of Cedar Island Bay has some of the best, if not the best, water quality in North Carolina for growing oysters.

Jay raises oysters using mariculture practices: he buys their seed from a hatchery and raises them to market size in floating cages on their lease in Core Sound.

The oyster farm is organized using a grid method to track the locations of oysters at various stages of development. Acting as small artificial reefs, the wire cages also offer protection for many varieties of juvenile fish and crustaceans.

Oysters suspended in the water don’t get covered in the mud familiar to harvesters of wild oysters. This allows oysters to grow as singletons instead of attached to a reef.

Jay buys spat, ranging from 2-4mm across and places them in fine-mesh cages. Mature oysters then get harvested when someone orders them so they can be the freshest possible product.


“Since we start with spat (baby oysters) from a hatchery, we are able to offer high quality oysters without depleting the wild population. This means we are sustainable.”

– Jay Styron, Carolina Mariculture Co.

Here’s a few reasons why we prefer Cedar Island Select Oysters:

  1. Carolina Mariculture specializes in growing single oysters as opposed to clusters or doubles.
  2. Cedar Island Select Oysters are uniform in size and shape with a deep cup, perfect for serving on the half shell.
  3. The farming practices by Carolina Mariculture Co., enable people to enjoy oysters year round! No more myth about eating oysters only in months with an “R”.
  4. Since approximately 75% of the oysters consumed in NC are imported from other states, we want to promote local North Carolina oysters.

Carolina Maritculture Co., 3118 Cedar Island Road, Cedar Island, NC 28510. 901.279.4686. carolinamaritculture.com.

Sallty Catch Seafood Company, 300 Wellons Drive, Beaufort, NC 28516. 252-838-9145.


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