with Karri Peifer of the Richmond Times Dispatch
Sponsored by Woodside Farms
We were excited to bring you the Rappahannock Oyster Co. story and as expected it did not disappoint! Cousins Travis and Ryan Croxton were novice oyster farmers when they started the business back in 2001. They felt called to save their rich family history, and through lots of determination, research, and hard work the two cousins literally built a thriving oyster business from the ground up. They now own 6 restaurants and one of the most well respected oyster distribution companies in the U.S.
Travis and Ryan talked about the history of the Chesapeake Bay oyster which has a deep and important connection to the health of the Bay. In the early days the oysters were unregulated and over-harvested. After the Civil War, the Bay oysters were a focus of many looking for new income sources and what ensued was a bit of a “gold rush.” Through many years of poor regulations, improper harvest techniques, flawed planning, and a lack of understanding in sustainability the harvests in Virginia reached an all time low in 2001 and it was estimated the Bay had barley 1% of its historic populations. To read more about the history of the oyster click here.
Once Travis and Ryan gained control of the company the rest is pretty much history. In 2002 they planted their first crop of 3,000 oysters using and “off bottom aquaculture” approach which they have carefully refined to the sustainable methods they use today. While they are constantly battling the environmental impacts of climate change, volatile weather systems, and surface runoff, Travis and Ryan say the oyster is thriving, and in turn so is the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
Travis and Ryan talked about their wild ride, opening restaurants with very little experience, and the importance of having a good crew around you. We are lucky to have these two call Richmond home, and are thankful for the time they spent with us. Thanks also to Karri Peifer for taking the time to interview these guys.
Rappahannock River Oysters gives tours of it’s property to interested parties. Please email [email protected] or call 804-204-1709 for more info. View a cool video they shared with us here: https://www.rroysters.com/how-we-do-it
Next month we will be back at St. Stephen’s with our inaugural Help to the Shelf competition. Join us to sample the featured products, learn their stories, and vote on a “Audience Choice” to send through to the final event at Hatch Kitchen on Tuesday, October 15th. **RSVP HERE**