THE POWER (AND TASTE) OF PLACE: SEABORN OYSTER COMPANY
Between dive-y raw bars and fine dining, oysters are a hot item in Charleston, and as we approach harvesting season local excitement for the bivalve grows. Among the anxious many is the Seaborn Oyster Company. The goal of this local business is to harvest wild oysters direct from the Stono Inlet. By identifying other wild oysters and small oyster farms across the region Seaborn Oysters hopes to create a network of oyster distributors throughout South Carolina and along the east coast. The hope is that the connections made among local, small businesses will foster greater success for companies focused in locally grown food.
Snake Island Selects oysters are harvested using the Seaborn method to ensure a very special taste to the brand. Prime harvesting season runs from September 15 through May 15 and can be somewhat of a technical process. Geography plays a pivotal role in the Seaborn method. Oysters are found right at the mouth of the Stono River where high salinity Atlantic Ocean waters mix with the less salty waters of the Stono. Not only does this blending of waters at the mouth of the Stono give the oysters their salty, dynamic taste, but also generates a strong current. The more stressful environment in combination with the salty blend results in a tasty, full-bodied oyster that is absolutely delicious!
But we’ve only scratched the surface on the importance of geography. For instance, the oysters on the outside of the beds are more tender than those on the inside forced to fight for more food. Seaborn Oysters take special interest in the locality of their oysters as the difference of a few feet can vary the taste and texture of each oyster. The positioning of the beds is a crucial factor in harvesting and delivering quality oysters to local businesses.
We have high hopes for The Seaborn Oyster Company. Despite their recent emergence on the local food scene, the just barely one-year-old company has seen huge success. For their initial season The Seaborn Oyster Company has been distributing exclusively to local favorite, Leon’s Oyster Shop, but as the new harvesting season approaches the company will be expanding their oyster empire. After nightly sell-outs of each shipment to Leon’s for the past year more restaurants are lining up a share of Seaborn Oysters.
As with many local businesses, The Seaborn Oyster Company is also a family business. The company is named for Alexander Seaborn Wadsworth, the great, great-grandfather of the owner. Wadsworth was born on a ship in the middle of the Bay of Bengal under his father, the master of a ship, and sailed throughout the world delivering goods and trading cargo, so it should come as no surprise that The Seaborn Oyster Company keeps the tradition alive. Their commitment to and love of the sea is evident in the execution of their mission and the delivery of delicious oysters. The Seaborn Oyster Company is no doubt bound for glory and we are excited to be along for the ride, or at least to enjoy their oysters the next time we dine!