Shell'em Seafood Co always and only harvests with a purpose. Every product harvested from the marsh is per-order. If there are no orders, there is no harvesting. It's a blessing that Ana Shellem (owner) provides to enough restaurants throughout the state of NC that she gets to harvest 6 days a week. Each product she plucks from the sea has a direct destination, a chef that is excited to share it, a beautiful dish to showcase it in, and (hopefully) an excited consumer who understands the swift journey it took to get there. Shell'em Seafood never harvests for volume, Ana simply refuses to do it. This is why she harvests directly to restaurants/chefs and not to corporate distributors or fish markets. It saddens her to think of her product sitting in someone else's truck or on someone else's shelf in "hopes to be sold." No, every piece of shellfish is already sold before it leaves its beautiful home in the marsh.
Ana is the only person who harvests, cleans, documents, and handles Shell'em Seafood's products from the start of low tide to delivery each day. She harvests specifically for chefs who have a mutual respect for the sea and who believe in sustainable fishing habits/practices. Shell'em Seafood only harvests wild products as Mother Nature is plentiful enough as is! Though fascinated with the science and talent of farmed shellfish, Ana understands that we can't always have what we want. Some of the products she harvests aren't always available. She takes pride in working with chefs/restaurants/communities that understand seasons and why we appreciate them in full bloom and miss them when they're gone. In the world of Shell'em Seafood, this honors the product even more. Appreciation for our ocean and natural resources is the epitome of her business model.
Ana enjoys seeing the creative things that each chef does with her products. In her first two years of business, she's collaborated with Free Range Brewery (Charlotte,NC) making two beers - "Shellem's Mussel Beach" (made with her wild mussels) and "Sea of Companions" (an oyster stout made with her seasonal oysters). She harvests for awarded restaurants in Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Little Washington, Greenville, Asheville, Kinston, and Carolina Beach among others. Every harvest is documented through the NC Trip Ticket Program which Ana happily submits each month in a timely manor. She is very open with her chefs about the pricing of her product - trying to provide a quality product that is affordable yet respected.
Shell'em Seafood honors the moon and mother nature always, each harvest and moon phase is a learning experience. Being in touch with nature is one of the greatest gifts - it is a fulfilling source of knowledge and nourishment. Ana Shellem lives and breathes for the marsh, life on the water, and sharing her harvest with her community.