Slash Creek Oysters

CATCH INFO: Shellfish Cultivated in Hatteras, NC
Grower: Katherine McGlade
Cultivation Method: Floating Bags


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Shucking Oysters with Fletcher O’Neal

Fisherman Profile by Maddy Sweitzer-Lamme

Fletcher O’Neal pulls his truck through a narrow road and up to the edge of the water. We climb out of the car and into the boat, where he offers me a water and admonishes me that when the sun is this hot it’s easy to get dehydrated.

It’s the middle of July and Ocracoke, the small island where Fletcher was born and has lived most of his life, is packed with tourists in search of sun, salt and seafood. On his boat, though, as we speed less than a quarter mile off the island, the heat and intensity of the island’s high season falls away.

fletcher-oysters2Fletcher grows Devil Shoal Oysters & Clams about a five-minute boat ride from Ocracoke, surrounded by cormorants and other animals. He laughs describing a sea snail he found recently that shot out purple ink when you touched it, which he brought to a friend for his aquarium. The oysters, he says, are so close to the island that they’re intrinsically connected. For him, they’re a true taste of home.

As we pull up to his oyster baskets, he cuts the engine. It’s so quiet – I immediately understand the appeal of his work, even as he uses his whole body to lift a basket onto the boat for me to look at.

He starts shucking the oysters, almost faster than I can eat them. I ask if he likes them and he laughs.

“It’s the one thing my doctor told me I can’t eat,” he tells me, rolling his eyes. Fletcher had kidney issues a few years ago, which took him off the island for some of the longest stretches he’s been away his whole life. The treatment was hard on his body, but he tells me it was also painful to be away from Ocracoke and the water.

“I would get out for the weekend and come home, and I always just wanted to come float on the water, even if I couldn’t fish or do nothing.”

8 Questions with Fletcher O’Neal

What is your favorite fish to target commercially? Flounder

What is your favorite fish to target Recreationally? Speckled Trout

What is your favorite fish to eat? Red Drum

Name 3 watermen, over your lifetime, that you consider to be the most professional guys in the business…guys that exude professionalism? Farris O’Neal (alive), Carlton Boyce O’neal, Dave Havard (alive)

Describe the best or most favorite boat you’ve ever owned? 20′ Sea Ox…crab and fished out of it…sold it years ago

Who is your favorite college team? UNC

What do you like to do when you aren’t fishing? Hunting ducks

What are TWO things somebody has to do or see when visiting your hometown? eat seafood and visit the lighthouse


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Locals Oyster Bar @ Tift Merrit Show – Aug 19

We’re teaming up with Spread Events to present a pop-up Oyster Bar for Tift Merritt & Friends @ NCMA! Doors open @ 6pm and we’ll be serving Raw NC Oysters on-the-half-shell, peel & eat Pamlico Sound Shrimp + marinated Cocktail Crab Claws.


SAT, Aug 19, 2017
6pm doors

Featuring M. C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, Eric Slick of Dr. Dog, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and The Suitcase Junket

Raleigh native Tift Merritt has performed at countless festivals, hidden corner bars, and concert halls in faraway cities. She wanted to bring the best of the goodness back to her hometown to say “thank you”—to water her roots, so to speak.

The fête is a one-time performance in the style of the Rolling Thunder Revue: a musical family singing one another’s songs and cheering each other on. Having toured for almost two decades, Merritt most laments not seeing her friends who are all on tour. And what she loves most about music is harmony. Assembling a one-time-only family band to make a great, unique noise was reason enough to make this night happen.

After nearly a decade in New York City, many trips to Marfa, Texas, and a long-time love affair with Paris, Merritt has collected a varied and wonderful set of friendships and experiences. Her close ties with the NCMA’s outdoor venue and staff (including a taped UNC-TV program) created a natural ground for further collaboration. This year’s show promises an evening to delight music lovers, cocktail drinkers, casual neighbors strolling by, and parents and children alike.

If the family fête is a love note to Merritt’s musical family, friendships, and hometown, it extends most of all to the littlest of the family. Having become a mother in 2016, Merritt wanted to make sure that children and parents alike would be at home and exploring on their night out.

The fête also features:

• Butch Anthony’s Traveling Museum of Wonder: Site-specific installations from Seale, Alabama, created for curious children of all ages
• The Commissary: Shop wares curated and presented by Raleigh Denim – Oak Moss Attic – Raleigh Vintage – The Possum Trot
• Food trucks, special libations, family play, and more

About the performers:

M. C. Taylor frequently performs under the moniker Hiss Golden Messenger. He and his band have released several records on Durham’s own Merge Records.

Eric Slick may be known as the drummer for Pennsylvania rock band Dr. Dog (since 2010); he is also the drummer for Adrian Belew of King Crimson and co-leader of the Philly band Lithuania. His debut solo debut Palisades, released in April on Richmond label Egghunt Records, sees the musician stepping out from behind the kit. Slick is on tour supporting Palisades throughout 2017.

Alexandra Sauser-Monnig is a singer-songwriter based in North Carolina. She is a member of the folk trio Mountain Man and has collaborated with Feist, Tift Merritt, and Hiss Golden Messenger. She is working on her debut solo album.

The Suitcase Junket is Matt Lorenz: artist, tinkerer, swamp Yankee, one-man band. His is the road-worn voice rising over the grind of a tube-amped dumpster guitar, and the wild double pitches of throat singing.

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Sandbar Oyster Co.

CATCH INFO: Shellfish Cultivated in Newport River, NC
Growers: David “Clammerhead” Cessna & Niels Lindquist

SALINITY: moderately high
SIZE: Small
CUP: moderate

SALINITY: moderately high
SIZE: X-small, cocktail size
CUP: deep

>> PRESS: Growing Better Bivalves: Science, local knowledge enhance N.C. business


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Seafood Lobby Day – WED, June 14

BOTTOM LINE: If this bill were to pass, it would be the first step in eradicating commercial fishing from our public trust waters…and unless you go to the coast yourself and catch it, you won’t be able to enjoy NC seafood any longer. We already have an effective management system that our tax dollars pay for, and if anything, we need to build on this system, not gut it altogether. We should be using good science from from our state biologists and the vast university system that we already have in place…not ignoring it because it doesn’t agree with one’s beliefs.

MORE INFO: NC’s Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 was and is the gold standard for fisheries management which other states have tried to emulate. According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, commercial fishing is the 7th most regulated industry in the US and state officials want regulations that make sense and achieve protection of fish stocks while allowing sustainable harvest.

House Bill 867 seeks to gut the act by changing many of the keystones of the legislation. It aims to change sustainable harvest to conservation but doesn’t say precisely how that would work or what it even means.

Three years of study, public meetings and development of the act was overseen by a panel made up of commercial and recreational fishermen, scientists and environmentalists. They crafted a comprehensive plan that includes peer-reviewed science as the basis for the creation of Fisheries Management Plans for individual species. To ensure decisions based on a broad array of knowledge and first hand experience, five advisory panels comprised of recreational and commercial fishermen and scientists review plans and give feed back to the Marine Fisheries Commission.

House Bill 867 would remove the advisory panels and replace with a council with no dedicated seats, thus allowing the exclusion of scientists, commercial fishermen or others with knowledge and experience.


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VIDEO: How to Fillet a Fish

via Western Wake Farmers’ Market: How to fillet a whole fish. Purchasing whole fish gives you more options for your weekly menu and is usually less expensive than purchasing fillets. I bought this fish from Locals Seafood. It’s important to buy fish from vendors you know and trust, and every Saturday Locals is at Western Wake Farmers Market – Morrisville.

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NC Seafood Wine Dinner at Blu Restaurant


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Devil Shoal Oysters


CATCH INFO: Shellfish Cultivated in Ocracoke, NC
Grower: Fletcher O’Neal
Cultivation Method: Floating Bags

SALINITY: moderately high, sweet finish
SIZE: Medium
CUP: moderate


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VIDEO: Raw Oyster Shucking Techniques

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Core Sounder Oysters

CATCH INFO: Shellfish Cultivated in Jarrett Bay (Smyrna, NC)
Grower: Adam Tyler
Cultivation Method: Floating Bags

SALINITY: moderately high
SIZE: Small/Medium
CUP: moderate

“It was love at first bite with this oyster. Good salt, clear liquor. Excellent for eating Raw.” – Kent (Locals Staff)

>> VIDEO: Raw Oyster Shucking Techniques


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