Island Spotlight: Ryan Smith of Signature Oysters

We hope you’ve been enjoying getting a sneak peek into some of the Island’s small businesses that we love. This week, we’re speaking with Ryan Smith, Owner of Signature-Oysters , located right here in Katama Bay.
 
Just think about the days when we’ll be able sip Rose on a warm summer evening and enjoy cold and briny oysters, overlooking South Beach! Signature-Oysters are cultured from the cold pristine waters of Katama Bay, and are renowned for their sweet, salty taste and rich texture.
 
Signature-Oysters can safely be served on the half shell or prepared in a variety of ways. For this season, The Dunes restaurant at the Winnetu, will offer the classic, Oysters Rockefeller, featuring Katama Bay grown, Signature-Oysters! The Winnetu is also planning on offering Signature-Oyster farm tours with Ryan later this season.
 
Did you know, oysters are not only delicious, but they are also good for you! They are one of the most nutritionally well balanced foods containing protein, carbohydrates and lipids.
 
Be sure to enjoy some oysters from Signature-Oysters when you next visit the Vineyard!
 
 
TELL US HOW YOU ENDED UP ON MARTHA’S VINEYARD
 
I grew up on Martha’s Vineyard. My dad was a commercial fisherman and that is how my passion grew for working on the water. 
 
After college, I moved back to the Vineyard to fish on my dad’s boat, the Alison Lee. Fishing was tough work and often changing from great to unreliable, which caused us to move into other fisheries.  

My dad always told me that it would be ideal to grow your own product instead of relying on Mother Nature and regulations becoming stricter every year. often changing from great to unreliable, which caused us to move into other fisheries. My dad always told me that it would be ideal to grow your own product instead of relying on Mother Nature and regulations becoming stricter every year.  I got the opportunity to go fishing on a big sea scallop boat out of New Jersey. I lived on the boat for one month and when we got caught in a strong storm offshore, the captain quit and we all lost our jobs. That was the final straw for me.

 

HOW DID SIGNATURE-OYSTERS BEGIN?
 
After experiencing the scare of that storm, I took all the money I made and applied for a grant in Katama. I bought 200 cages, 2,000 grow bags, a truck and a boat, and built a tidal-powered nursery. I was instantly in love with oyster farming and knew this was something I would do for the rest of my life. I have become so involved in oystering that now my wife also has a farm in Katama.
 
 
WHAT’S THE FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB NOW?
 
My kids! My wife and I have three children: Hailey, 11 years old; Mya, 9 year’ old; and Hudson, 4 years old. My favorite part about my job is when my kids are involved. My oldest daughter has come out since she was 5 years old. They love to collect the different shells and play with the crabs that fall off the cages. My son loves to catch fish that live under our work rafts. I am very proud to continue my family’s tradition that was instilled in me, working and living off the waters of Martha’s Vineyard. 
 
WHAT ARE YOUR AND YOUR FAMILY’S FAVORITE WAYS TO EAT OYSTERS?
 
Tough choice. My wife prefers them raw on the half shell with a little mignonette sauce. I love them raw, but my dad makes an amazing Po’ boy fried oyster on a slice of bread with some delicious aioli sauce. My kids will eat them fried.  
 
 
YUM! Thank you, Ryan, for the inside scoop and we look forward to enjoying some of your oysters this season on the water! 

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Frosé your way to the Winnetu each Saturday for a little post-Beach Aprés Sea. Featuring poolside raw bar and summertime drinks, join us for this special event each weekend from 4pm - 5pm

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It’s clambake season at Winnetu!

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Wishing everyone a happy 4th from sea to shining sea 🇺🇸

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Hop a ride to the Edgartown Water Taxi aboard the Jitney, our beloved antique resort shuttle

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Welcome back: from the beach, from downtown, or whatever Vineyard adventure you got up to today.

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Forecast calls for sunny summer memories on the Vineyard.

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In true Vineyard fashion, #NationalLobsterDay should be celebrated with a forkful of Fish Pot from Chef Mike’s new menu at @thedunesmv. Dunes is back open on Thursday, so we’ll see you for a post-#LobsterDay celebration then!

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