The Virginia family sold its first Chesapeake Bay oysters in 1899 to supplement their farming income. But the Croxtons’ son, who took over the Rappahannock River Oyster business, ultimately cautioned his own kids against it because pollution, disease and over-fishing were wiping out the species.
But in 2001, two 4th generation cousins felt nostalgic about their grandfather and drawn to their family’s heritage. Less than two years after they started, Travis and Ryan Croxton sold their first oysters to a top New York City restaurant.
To boost lackluster harvest tallies of the Chesapeake Bay, they began farming oysters, rather than just finding what was available. In this way they are also aiding the health of the Bay because the bivalves naturally strain pollution from the water while they grow.
Today they have succeeded beyond any expectations, harvesting four different oyster varieties and opening three restaurants in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
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