We grow high quality oysters in pristine NC waters using sustainable mariculture practices. Enjoy our healthy, environmentally friendly delicacy year-round!
Where you can buy our oysters:
Oyster lovers: Great restaurants in NC, GA, SC, & VA, Locals Seafood at farmers markets in the Triangle, or direct from the farm!
Salinity Range: 12-18 ppt
Shell Characteristics: deep cup, bright white color, moderate thickness
Flavor Profile: delicate, sweet and buttery, subtle saltiness, mild mineral undertones, clean finish
How we grow our oysters:
The practice of oyster mariculture, the cultivation of oysters in the wild, has been around since ancient Rome. Unlike other forms of aquaculture, we never feed, water, medicate, or interfere with the natural growth of our oysters. In fact, mariculture raised oysters are recognized as the greenest form of protein production on the planet.
We simply purchase oyster seed and then grow that seed in off-bottom, predator-restricting gear placed in brackish creeks and rivers. We periodically rinse our oysters with creek water and grade our oysters (separating them by size), then return them to the water in different sized gear. When our oysters reach 2.75”-3.25,” we harvest them on-demand to guarantee maximum freshness, year-round. We hand select each one to ensure that they meet our high standards.
Oysters contain more zinc than any other food
Oysters are high in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and magnesium (all great for your heart!)
Oysters are low in calories, low in fat, and a great source of protein
Oysters are also good sources of vitamins A, E, C, and B12, iron, calcium, and selenium.
Oysters can help you improve your cholesterol levels by raising your HDLs, and lowering your LDLs
Current research is suggesting oysters contain compounds with potential cancer fighting qualities
Last but not least, oysters are great for the libido!
Where we grow our oysters:
Chadwick Creek is a pristine body of water located in North Carolina’s Inner Banks, where the Bay River meets the vast Pamlico Sound: 35O12’15.44”N 76O36’01.50”W. The Pamlico Sound is the largest lagoon on the East Coast, and part of the second largest estuary in the United States. Historically, this area was rich with delicious wild oysters with a wide range of flavor profiles.
“Part of the reason I think North Carolina could become like the Napa Valley of oysters… it’s got this incredible complex coastal habitat with tons and tons of estuaries with brackish water which is where oysters thrive and there are a very few places in the country if you look on a map, there’s the Chesapeake Bay and one or two other places that have that spectacular mid salinity complex habitat.” – Rowan Jacobsen, Food Writer and Author of A Geography of Oysters
Our 110 acre farm is located on the north side of Chadwick Creek. This beautiful, unspoiled location is home to Chadwick Creek Oysters’ land-based operation. Below the brackish waters of Chadwick and Bennett Creeks, our oysters grow on nineteen acres of submerged land first secured by “perpetual franchises for shellfish cultivation” in 1908, and more recently through leases from the State of North Carolina.
Our farm is surrounded by miles of undeveloped shoreline, which looks much the way it did when Native Americans inhabited the area. Folklore has it that the Secotan and Bay River tribes collected and cultivated oysters in Chadwick Creek, and nearby ancient shell mounds highlight how much they enjoyed the abundant shellfish!
Eastern oysters, crassostrea virginica, are a keystone species that filter water and create habitat, providing invaluable estuarine ecosystem services for submerged aquatic vegetation, shrimp, crab, and numerous species of fish. Overharvesting of shellfish, overdevelopment of coastal land, and naturally occurring environmental shocks have drastically depleted wild oyster populations on the east coast of the US, leaving them around 5% of historical levels. At current levels, wild oysters are much more valuable to society sitting in our estuaries, and not on our plates.
As we mentioned earlier, mariculture raised oysters are recognized as the greenest form
of protein production on the planet. Our farm positively impacts the local estuary because our oysters currently filter over 40 billion gallons of water a year! Our grow-out gear also provides an artificial reef or habitat for small fish and other aquatic life. In addition, a portion of our farm raised oysters spawn each year helping rebuild drastically depleted wild populations. By consuming our delicious oysters, you will continue to help improve our local estuary as we will replace your oysters with at least three times as many!
We are simply foodies turned farmers having fun “messing about in boats,” practicing modern methods of mariculture to grow outstanding oysters for your enjoyment.
Chris and Kelly Matteo are “oyster lovers” whose passion for food and the coast inspired them to leave city life behind to cultivate oysters in the coastal wilderness of rural eastern North Carolina. In 2010, they purchased a large tract of waterfront land that came with eight acres of deeded oyster beds in beautiful Chadwick Creek. Soon after, they began day dreaming about starting an oyster farm. In their free time, they began visiting farms from NC to MA. In 2013, they decided to grow Chadwick Creek Oysters! Their experience is in finance, technology, and entrepreneurship, and they do not come from traditional waterman or farming backgrounds.
Kelly’s father Duane, whose experience spans bronze sculpting, carpentry, and graphic design has been an integral part of the family business since the farm’s inception. He’s our “oyster Michelangelo” who commutes by boat! Perhaps the allure of the coastal way of life and the desire to produce artisanal oysters is deeply ingrained in our farmers. Chris and Duane have ancestors that lived in Italy close to where the renowned entrepreneur Sergius Orata pioneered oyster mariculture practices over two thousand years ago. The popularity and demand for oysters in that region during that era can be summed up by the legend of Roman Emperor Aulus Vitellius. He is said to have consumed over 1,000 oysters during a single feast! He is one of our heroes.
More recently (a few hundred years ago) Kelly’s ancestors helped settle eastern North Carolina. Coincidentally, her grandmother grew up less than twelve miles from the farm, and used to cruise by Chadwick Creek on boating adventures to New Bern.
Provide chefs, retailers and oyster lovers with a steady year-round supply of North Carolina oysters of the highest quality!
We aim to build a successful business that:
Grows delicious, sustainable oysters
Gives back to the community by improving the environment
Allows us to have a great time living at the coast!
CCO mentions, interviews, features, events, and cool oyster articles.
Cool Oyster Articles:
We're located near the Intracoastal Waterway Statute Mile 160. If you're lucky, you can reach us by VHF radio.
We love hearing from oyster fans! We welcome all questions and comments. Really, we do. We are in the middle of nowhere growing oysters. There are more bears than people out here. We catch ourselves talking to dolphins and pelicans!
Currently, we offer farm tours by appointment only. Eventually, we’ll build a boathouse and tasting room for farm dinners and private parties. Send us an email and let us know if you’re interested in agritourism events, and we’ll keep you posted!