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“One shell of an oyster!”

What’s In a Legacy?

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Heath and Mike on the Birddog

The Davis family comes from generations of commercial fisherman who have earned their living working on the water.  If you have ever spent time with a commercial fishermen, you will have experienced our unique  culture that balances livelihood with an inborn respect and passion for nature and the sea. This culture raises men and women who are tenaciously hard working, able to withstand unbearable working conditions, intuitively knowledgeable of the weather and the sea, capable of fixing just about anything, and fiercely family oriented as we carefully pass on our legacy from generation to generation. We know that we have to nurture these skills and attributes because when working on the water our survival may one day depend on them. 

Heath's daughter, Sarah, is helping cull oysters. Mike, to her left, is passing on his knowledge to her like only grandfathers can.

Heath’s daughter, Sarah, is helping cull oysters. Mike, to her left, is passing on his knowledge to her like only grandfathers can.

Mike and Heath Davis, father and son, own and operate Cedar Key Seafarms.  In building our company, we have fully incorporated all the knowledge, skills, standards and heritage we have been given from our forefathers.  The type of work we have done over the years has evolved from off-shore fishing, net fishing, stone crabbing, and owning and operating fish houses, to clam farming after the enactment of the Florida Net Ban in 1995, and oyster farming in 2012 at the onset of the wild oyster fisheries disaster in our area.

The Davis family heritage is what keeps us growing, adapting and thriving on the water no matter the changes or challenges we face. It’s what makes us always choose to take the extra mile to arrive at a better result, even when we don’t have to. And, it’s the guarantee to our customers that when you buy Cedar Key Seafarms clams and Pelican Reef Oysters you will be receiving the best the sea can offer with a focus on customer service that is purposefully top notch.

What’s In a Name?

blue oval logoDavis Seafood has evolved into Cedar Key Seafarms. We’ve done this for several reasons, but mostly because we want to incorporate everything wonderful about Cedar Key into our business as we enter the world of high-end oysters and grow outside the State of Florida. 

But, no matter what our official name is, when dealing with our company you are dealing with the Davis’, and our relentless commitment to going the extra mile to produce the highest quality products, and provide the best customer service in our industry. That’s what our name has and always will stand for.

What’s In a Location?

Cedar Key is a small island and fishing community located 3 miles off the west coast of Florida, population 800. It’s rather remote, and to get here you have to cross four bridges.  We like it that way.  Many people have discovered Cedar Key only by chance after a burst of adventure caused them to turn off Highway 19 onto Highway 24 in the hopes of finally discovering what was at the end of the road. The answer, one of the few sleepy and rustic hidden gems left in Florida…no traffic lights, and no franchise chains.

It’s one of the oldest towns in Florida, and its colorful history dates back to the days of pirates. Through the years it has been many things, but in its hey day it was a thriving deep sea port at the end of the busy Fernandina Railroad line, known for pencil manufacturing and timber. Today it is one of the top producers of farm raised clams in the country, and over the past few years it is quickly making its mark in the oyster farming world.  But, no matter what Cedar Key is known for, it has always been a working waterfront, remaining one of the few legitimate fishing communities in the State of Florida. 

Of most importance to our business and our customers is the fact that the waters off Cedar Key are known for their pristine cleanliness, rich estuaries, and ideal location near the mouths of the Suwannee, Withlacoochee and Wacassasa rivers creating the most ideal environment for raising clams and oysters. The river waters flow into the gulf to give our clams and Pelican Reef Oysters the perfect brininess and flavors of the sea. In addition, the nutrient filled water helps our products to grow fast, plump and healthy. 

When you make your living from the water, location makes all the difference, and the tiny island of Cedar Key is the hidden gem of clam and oyster farming. One of the many reasons we love it.

What’s In Water Quality?

IMG_5283 (1024x651)Our community recognizes the importance of protecting our water quality, and has worked fiercely with local governments to make sure that it remains one of the highest in the country.  In fact, Florida has designated it one of its “Outstanding Florida Waters.”

Water coming off of a clam bag as it's pulled off the bottom of the lease onto the boat.

Water coming off of a clam bag as it’s pulled off the bottom of the lease onto the boat.

For example, Cedar Key successfully enacted a community wide plan to remove all septic tanks from the island to prevent any unwanted contamination. In addition, it has refurbished its storm water draining system to treat rainwater run-off.  Cedar Key has also worked to educate its population on the importance of maintaining our pristine water quality through Florida Friendly landscaping, and less use of fertilizers and pesticides that can seep into the water system. 

One of the big contributors to our coveted water quality is the lack of development in our area due to the fact that the State and Federal governments own most of the land on either side of Cedar Key, and they have designated it for conservation uses only.

Over the years we have been actively involved in local politics to give the commercial fishermen a voice, and to protect the water quality in our area for generations to come.  Recently Heath served as a board member of the Suwannee River Water Management District, and was Mayor of Cedar Key.

In today’s world of high dollar values and ceaseless development on water front property, good water quality doesn’t just happen.  It is accomplished only with the diligent and concerted efforts of everyone. Cedar Key Seafarms is committed to protecting our waters, and to doing everything we can to maintain our high water quality. 

What’s In Sustainable Aquaculture?

In recent past, fish farms have gotten a bad name because of the chemicals and antibiotics they use on their products, and because of other negative environmental impacts such as the threat they often pose to the smaller fish populations used to feed their farm raised fish. 

We want you to know that Cedar Key Seafarms does not practice that kind of aquaculture. In fact, our clam and oyster farming is 100% natural and environmentally sustainable.  Our products are planted on our leases in the waters off Cedar Key.  We use nothing artificial on our products, and all nutrients that make them grow come to them in their natural habitat directly from the sea.  Also, clams and oysters eat algae so no small, wild fish are depleted from our natural ecosystem as we grow our business and produce more clams and Pelican Reef Oysters.

Heath pulling the boat over clam bags on one of our leases during a very low tide.

Heath pulling the boat over clam bags on one of our leases during a very low tide.

In fact, oyster and clam farming is very environmentally friendly. Bivalves, shellfish such as clams and oysters, eat by filtering microscopic algae and other small particles from the water.  This filter feeding process helps clean the water. A single oyster cleans over 15 gallons of water a day, and a small oyster farm can clean around 30 to 100 million gallons of water each day. Wow! When the water is cleared of the microscopic particles that block the sun’s rays, the grasses and reefs so critical to our ecosystem thrive creating more habitat for all marine life. In fact, our planted oyster and clam bags create their own type of reef habitat for millions of crabs, fish, snails, and the like. Our leases are teaming with life. Clam and oyster farming also relieves the pressure off the wild oysters and clams so that they are not depleted by overharvesting, giving them time to recover naturally.

Aquaculture is a good thing for us, our consumers, and the environment.

What’s In a Crew?

Mike on the Birddog with two of our awesome crew members, Jeff and Herbie.

Mike on the Birddog with two of our dedicated crew members, Jeff and Herbie.

Everything!! Cedar Key Seafarms is blessed to have an incredible crew working with us to produce our clams and oysters.  To grow high end, clean, great tasting products day in and day out, we have to have hard working, well trained people helping us who believe in our mission wholeheartedly. 

We do, and we are very thankful for them.