Oysters “R” In Season

It’s freezing on Long Island Sound, but oysters are hot.

Jeff Northrop (Photo: Andrew Hetherington/Bloomberg Businessweek)

Hot on the heels of news that Alan Sterling is selling his shellfish beds, comes this Bloomberg Businessweek profile of Westporter Jeff Northrop.  He left a New York hedge fund so he could — sell oysters.

After graduating as an economics major a couple of years ago from Columbia, Jeff turned down a chance to enter his dad’s watercraft sales and fishing guide business.  He became an analyst at Exis, but realized the environment was not for him.  Half a year later, he was gone.

At the same time, Businessweek said,

Northrop’s father discovered his family owned a sizable acreage of oyster beds near their Westport property.  His father had been selling mollusks to local restaurants, but Northrop suggested expanding the business by offering oysters to posh Manhattan restaurants.

With $100,000 of his and his father’s savings—plus $35,000 from a former Exis colleague—Northrop incorporated Westport Aquaculture (now called New York Oyster Co.) in July 2010.

Jeff caught a break when Midtown restaurant Lavo became a customer.  His company now supplies 35 restaurants, including Daniel and Balthazar.

Jeff told Businessweek his company will sell $450,000 worth of oysters this year.  Now he’s looking to raise money to invest in sustainable fish farms. His goal, he says, is to create “the world’s first aquaculture hedge fund.”

Jeff’s made plenty of good business decisions lately.  But if he thought trading in a 3-piece suit for oyster apparel would free up some time, he was wrong.  He still works over 100 hours a week — just as he did on Wall Street.

9 responses to “Oysters “R” In Season

  1. Like I said in comment section re. Alan Sterling’s Oyster Beds For Sale, “success (in this business) isn’t inevitable,” but for those who take a chance the upside of having taken that risk can = ‘Westport Aquaculture’ (and it has no chance of = ‘that’ if you don’t take the risk)

  2. I called everyone I knew when they put that on the market several years back.. no takers.. If I had the money, I would have bought it. YOU GO, Jeff. We were just talking about you. I have a photo of the house/shack on facebook… that I just put up yesterday and we’re all commenting on it right now. Check it out.

  3. The Dude Abides

    Good for Jeff. To think a young man wants to detach from his money-hedging desk and work with his hands outside is refreshing if not downright amazing!

  4. How I wish my wife, Andy, were with us still to fill in some my memory blanks. If memory serves as they say, Jeff and Ran McNeil, a local entrepreneur, started this oyster culture years ago in the Mill Pond, in Jeff’s back yard you might say. It did not flourish there. It has done well since.

  5. Alot of history there, Jeff’s great grandmother was Mae Allen whose
    brother, best known for the Clam House, developed those bed in the late 1800’s, thats another interesting story.

  6. Good for Jeff. To think a young man wants to detach from his money-hedging desk and work with his hands outside is refreshing if not downright amazing!

  7. Shuck this I'm going sailing

    It’s fantastic to hear that Ran “the Man” McNeil is still alive and doing well. I’ve been losing to ran and his son Christian on the race course for over 20 years now. Cheers to a man who has never been afraid to share his bold opinions.

  8. Currently raising capital to take cultivation to the next level. Contact jeff@investaquaculture.com for info.