Grayson Bay Oyster Company is bolstering its operation to meet rising demand and increase resiliency during extreme weather events.
100% of $62,100
Funded on 04/06/2022
Meet the Farmers
Brandon and Natialie Smith started Grayson Bay Oyster Company in 2018. Drawn to the ocean from a young age, Brandon is a trained marine biologist and began his career as an environmental specialist, consulting on wetland delineations, wildlife surveys, and managing a wide range of projects for aquatic research. Brandon and Natalie met at the University of West Florida, and together they settled in Pensacola to raise their two boys, Baylen and Grayson–the inspiration behind the name of their family oyster farm. The couple co-owns the company, with Brandon overseeing operations and sales, and Natalie managing media and communications.
Oysters are raised with off-bottom floating equipment to keep them on the surface of the water, where they’re safe from predators and contribute to filtering out excess sediment and nitrogen from the bay. Their farm also serves as a nursery for juvenile fish and crabs. Grayson Bay is proud to produce food that improves the marine ecosystem and to share information on the practices of sustainable seafood production with the broader community.
Grayson Bay is active in their local and regional food economy as a member of Oyster South and the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition. They’re also a cluster farm to the Florida Oyster Trading Co–a previously funded Steward project. Recently, they were awarded a Florida Sea Grant to hire a paid intern, bolstering their small but mighty team, and in exchange, sharing their knowledge and expertise on sustainable aquaculture.
Word on Grayson Bay Oyster Co. is spreading fast and demand for their premium oysters is soaring. At a Thanksgiving local popup market in 2021, the company sold 500 oysters in a mere 15 minutes. They’ve been featured in regional magazines, podcasts, and recognized by a local business institute for their positive impact on the local economy.
Regenerative & Sustainable Practices
Oysters require no additional feed or supplements and sequester carbon in their shells, making them one of the most regenerative seafood species to grow and consume. Grayson Bay is a strong proponent of sustainable aquaculture with practices that include:
Hand-raising oysters on the water surface, where they clean the water and filter out excess nitrogen.
Ensuring ample habitat for juvenile fish and crabs bolsters the marine ecosystem.
Educating the public on sustainable aquaculture practices, expanding training, and creating job opportunities to grow the local seafood economy.
Become a steward of the land
Join a growing community of sustainably-minded stewards reaping the rewards from responsible farming