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How the McIntosh Family Is Keeping One of Georgia’s Last Oyster Farms Alive

Earnest McIntosh Sr. has been oyster farming for almost 50 years

Earnest McIntosh Sr. has been farming oysters in Georgia for almost 50 years. He initially began working with his father on his crabbing business, but as the years went on it turned into an oyster farm. “My father, he’s been at it all his life,” he says. “I started in 1978, and I fell in love with it. It gets in your blood.”

Now, Earnest McIntosh Sr., joined by his son and daughter, farms and distributes their oysters to restaurants around the area. “We work anywhere from two to 3,000 [oysters] a day,” he says. “That passion for it, it grows on you.”

His son, Earnest McIntosh Jr. is the vice president of E.L. McIntosh and Son Oyster Co. and joins him on the boat in Harris Neck, Georgia to do the labor of harvesting oysters. “People love wild, people love farmed, but all our oysters grow in the same exact waters,” says Earnest McIntosh Jr. “We produce three types of oysters: a wild single, a farmed single, and a cluster.”

Earnest McIntosh Sr.’s daughter, Lasonia McIntosh, is the company’s executive administrator and joins him on the water. She also sells the oysters to local restaurants. “I didn’t learn to appreciate this until I got older, I used to cry, it’s too much water,” Lasonia McIntosh says, laughing. “I got it now, daddy.”

Watch the full video to see how the McIntosh family harvests their oysters, and how local restaurants make dishes out of them.

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