The Cape Hatteras Oyster Company was founded by Bill and Ryan Belter. They are a father and son duo that started out by collecting oysters along the shores. They would collect oysters along the sound side in Cape Hatteras. It is in Buxton Village in North Carolina. The company is a branded oyster program by the Belters. It allows them to ship oysters directly. Their customers are fishmongers and restaurants all over the country.
The cape of North Carolina’s barrier Island is in Hatteras Island. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Pamlico Sound in the west. There are 24 miles between the island and the mainland.
Before getting into the oyster business, Bill Belter worked as a contractor in Norfolk. He relocated to Hatteras in 2010 with his son, Ryan. While in Hatteras, the duo started by harvesting wild oysters. They came to an understanding that they wanted to try other options of making money in the area.
Bill and Ryan Belter came up with the idea of the company as they were collecting oysters in Buxton. They saw the environment as perfect for producing a fertile and healthy ecosystem. The two are local watermen and knew their way around marine ecosystems. The region they were working on showed promise. It seemed capable of supporting oysters and other aquatic life beautifully. The Belters then set out to cultivate the Atlantic Oyster. This was to be cultivated in the same waters they had been working on.
Starting out with the company was slow. It took them 3 years just to get their lease approved. The father and son team managed to get a lease in 2014. It was a one-acre piece of land. Immediately, they started by distributing oysters to locals. In their first year, the Belters received a yield of about 200,000 oysters. They work 90 to 100 hours each week, and more so during the summer.
Three years later, they put forward a proposal for a bigger lease. This was for four more acres of land. The approval of this lease allowed the Belters to double their annual yield. They started distributing their oysters in 2016. They first mastered local restaurants and food-oriented businesses. Afterward, they ventured out of state. Some of the states they have distributed to are:
· New York
These are medium sized cultivated oysters. Bill and Ryan Belter grow them in the Pamlico Sound. The location is suitable for its briny and clean waters. These waters lend a sweet and salty flavor to the harvested oysters. Specific descriptions of the Hatteras Salts oysters are;
· Flavor: Creamy and sweet
· Shell size: Medium
· Salinity: High
· Cup depth: Moderate
· Location of growth: Pamlico Sound near Buxton town in North Carolina
· Availability: All year round
· Cultivated by: Bill and Ryan Belter. They own the Cape Hatteras Oyster Company
Hatteras Salts can be enjoyed raw on the half shell. They can be paired with a cold beer to really bring out the flavor.
North Carolina is a rapidly growing aquaculture industry. The main thing that sees a lot of growth in the area is oyster farming. The state has a network of consumers, chefs and the general public. The network has people that enjoy exceptional quality of the region’s oysters.
Oysters are pretty easy to grow. They are farmed in the wild and feed from nature. Traditionally, oysters were grown by planting the seed on the bottom. More recently, production is done in the water column. Here, the oysters grow while floating or in cages that are suspended. This method allows the oysters to grow individually and in a similar size. They are also free from grit. This aspect puts them at a higher demand in the half-shell market.
Companies like Cape Hatteras Oyster Company work towards learning new techniques in farming. They attend symposiums with other experts in the region. These events are held to share about marketing oysters. The symposiums also allow for showcasing their harvests. This motivates each company to be innovative in their versions of oyster farming.
The Belters supply their oysters to a number of businesses in North Carolina and beyond. Their work requires a lot of networking, so they take part in numerous festivals. One such festival is called Landlocked. It includes a full feast of whole hog barbecue and southern oysters.
It is an event worth attending. There are at least 20 varieties of oysters to be enjoyed. Most of the oysters at the festival are grown right there in North Carolina. Some other states that provide oysters for the Landlocked Festival include;
· South Carolina
· New York
The event also offers a variety of chefs. Many seafood chefs attend the event and cook oysters on the grounds. This allows those who attend to be able to sample different recipes.
Bill and Ryan are always in pursuit of the perfect shuck. That, according to them, is what makes a great Hatteras Salts oyster. They are a father and son duo that had a vision they needed to see come to reality. They found something close to their hearts and ran with it. The Cape Hatteras Oyster Company is a testament to long hours and hard work that finally paid off. They managed to come up with a signature oyster that has made them pioneers. Hatteras Salts are delicious treats to all that visit or live in Buxton and North Carolina at large.