Grower Profile: Katherine McGlade

Slash Creek Oysters, Hatteras

Katherine McGlade, Slash Creek Oysters, Hatteras

Katherine and her trusted companion Merrit on their way to her lease.

After years of working in corporate jobs, Katherine McGlade was looking for a way to work outside when she came across oyster mariculture.

McGlade saw an opportunity to make a quality product in an industry that seemed underserved in North Carolina. In 2015, she started her own mariculture business in Sandy Bay near Hatteras. Here, she leases about five acres and is slowly growing the amount of product she produces.

McGlade’s husband is a seasonal commercial fisherman, and during his off-season, he works with her on the lease. She also employs four people part-time.

She grows her oysters using floating bags and has experimented growing them in bottom cages. McGlade said that it’s her lease location that makes her oysters unique. Even oysters grown within a 10-mile radius of her lease won’t necessarily taste the same. While she admitted she’s not a taste expert, McGlade said her oysters are salty and plump compared to others. The average salinity at her lease site is about 25 ppt (with ocean water being 35 ppt and freshwater being 0 ppt).

She sells most of her oysters under the label Slash Creek Oysters. Local restaurants and distributors, including Risky Business Seafood in Hatteras and Coastal Provisions Oyster Bar & Wine Café in Southern Shores, carry them. Locals Seafood distributes her oysters in the Triangle.

Two years into her business, McGlade said she is focused on improving production and growing her operations. She wants to encourage potential new growers to start their own oyster mariculture operations in North Carolina, and educate them about the investment and time it takes to start a new operation, as well as the many factors that can affect oyster growth

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