A sold-out grand opening event Saturday with food, beverages and music launches NSea Oyster Co.’s foray into special events with its Oyster Barn. The new venue, at 674 Old Landing Road in Hampstead, will allow the oyster company to host its own events as well as rent out the barn to others for gatherings.
“We want to host four to six events per year, collaborating with local vendors,” said company owner and second-generation oyster farmer Conor MacNair. “We also want to work with local chefs to do chef dinners.”
The barn will also serve as a pick-up point for customers who order the succulent shellfish. Starting Monday, May 3, NSea Oyster Co. will take orders by phone for pick-up each Friday during retail hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The hope is gradually to expand customer pickup to more days of the week, according to MacNair. For now, however, customers who order online can specify a particular day and time for oyster pickup at the barn, he said.
All the oysters come from NSea Oyster Co.’s farm, located in the waters behind Topsail Island, where they are grown primarily on a 300-foot suspended longline. Their cultivation uses a mixture of Australian and French oyster farming techniques, according to NSea Oyster Co.’s website
MacNair, a graduate of University of North Carolina Wilmington, has worked in oyster farms since his teens and is committed to sustainable practices, he said. In the five years since he started his own farm, he has grown his customer base nationwide and sells directly to individuals and restaurants. Locally, NSea Oyster Co.’s produce can be found at Seabird, Pinpoint Restaurant, Rx Restaurant and Bar and Wrightsville Beach Brewing Co.
MacNair brings his oysters to the Farmer’s Market at Tidal Creek Coop from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays as well.