1st GENERATION OYSTER FARMER
LANDS AT Hatteras, NC
VESSEL NAME The Half Shell
CULTIVTES Slash Creek Oyster
“I have learned to be resilient in the face of calamity.”
Katherine McGlade’s office has a pretty good view. Seagulls and oystercatchers fly past, salty breezes blow through, and the still waters of the Pamlico Sound surround her. Her office is the little skiff she shares with her husband, Spurgeon Stowe, as they venture into the sound to check on their oysters.
Tucked behind the spit of land called Hatteras Island you’ll find Slash Creek oysters growing in floating bags. These salty little gems have a fresh, clean flavor that tastes like the coast itself. Katherine and Spurgeon work the farm along with help from their dog, Merit.
After finishing her graduate degree at Duke Marine Lab, Katherine moved to Hatteras Island and married Spurgeon. She knew she wanted to join North Carolina’s seafood industry, and her new home on Hatteras provided her with easy access to the sound. “We thought farming oysters would be a good sustainable way to bring in fresh North Carolina seafood.”
It hasn’t been easy. “I have learned to be resilient in the face of calamity. I always say don’t become an oyster farmer unless you can handle having your heart broken over and over again. Storms, disease, failed seed crops, and hurricanes are all conspiring against your little salty babies. Keeping them safe is a full time job.”
Katherine believes in her oysters. “I think that North Carolina oysters are among the best in the world. I never had [a Slash Creek oyster] that I didn’t love.” We agree.
Learn more about Slash Creek oysters here.
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“You do a lot of praying when you’re out here. It’s a tough way to make a living, but if you love it, there’s nothing better.”
Hardy Plyler grew up on Ocracoke Island. After studying at UNC Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar, he returned home to Ocracoke and started fishing.
“I love advocating for fishermen because they are hardworking men. They go to work, rain, sun, snow. They battle the elements. They’re resilient people. I love how resourceful they are.”