Once upon a time, sometime around 1820 to be exact, there was a king with a dream. A dream to bring the salty singles of New York City, to the tides of Charleston. David Truesdell (1790-1856), known as the Oyster King, came to Charleston to forge his fortune in oysters. And did he pick a good choice or what? With bountiful estuarine waters and a demanding market, Charleston was the Goldilocks Zone for this Oyster King. Oysters were the original bar nut, and had been served in taverns with stouts (hence the style "Oyster Stout") to dock workers and travelers for decades along coastal towns. But as economy and society grew, so did the dining out conditions. People didn't just want food, they wanted an experience, and so, the restaurant was born. Truesdell, a business savant, knew the market and the demands, and with that knowledge, he was able to open two thriving restaurants (The New York Oyster House in Charleston and Columbia, SC), each of which, served his "home grown" oysters. Sharing the local salty sweets of Charleston in a way most had never experienced, Truesdell's business blossomed, as did the popularity of oysters on the half shell. Truesdell's "Planted Oyster" farm was located along the back of Sullivan's Island, near Breach Inlet, in an area now known to locals as oyster bank. Local oysters on the half shell thrived in Charleston until Truesdell's death (1856) (The Oyster King; By Suzannah S. Miles in Charleston Living Magazine).
Since then, oysters on the half shell have remained in demand, but instead of being local, they were imported from all over the world. Because South Carolina oysters were never over harvested, the state never had a need to farm them like in Northern states. Oyster roasts did the trick for our local kick, and bars selected farmed oysters from the Northeast because they came as singles. Then demands changed, and Charleston wanted local singles, and so began the birth of oyster mariculture in South Carolina. Today most Charleston raw bars will have at least one or two farmed oysters from South Carolina, but none farmed from Charleston.
And so, in 2016, to provide the Holy City with the salty singles it craves, Charleston Oyster Farm was born. As our oyster's approach market size, come October 1st, our singles will be ready to mingle...in your mouth. Yup.
Stay tuned, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and keep your mouths open for our OYSTERS!