New Jersey Food Journal

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jersey Oyster Farm Keeps it Fresh

Photo credits: Forty North Oysters
By Serena Han

Sunsets and shoreline photos on Instagram are a dime a dozen. A close-up shot of a fresh oyster from New Jersey is not.

Forty North Oyster Farm’s Instagram feed is updated regularly with photos showing off the glistening sheen of wild oysters and their distinctly textured shells. Matt Gregg, founder of Forty North Oyster Farm, promotes his oyster farm the modern way, using social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the video hosting site Vimeo.
“It’s become my quest to grow the perfect oyster”

Gregg’s social media presence exudes a youthful vibe that most would not typically associate with oyster farming. Its online content reflects a millennial and current perspective on the fishing industry and this refreshing and unique angle separates Forty North from other oyster farming competitors.

Companies use social media for marketing, promotional, or customer service-related purposes, including Forth North Oyster Farm. However, Gregg’s social media efforts give off a contemporary and distinctly savvy feel. The image editing, quality, and overall aesthetics on its Instagram feed is impressive.

So much so, that Modern Farmer magazine recruited Gregg to take over its Instagram account for two weeks as a guest contributor. Gregg posted pictures of oysters, the farming process, and even photos of himself on the job, giving followers a first-hand look into Forty North Oyster Farm’s operations. Captions are educational and fun – how to fry mud crabs, for example, or tidbits about New Jersey marine culture.

Gregg cultivates the company’s image in ways that are appealing to other millennials. Forty North Oyster Farm’s merchandise has the same lightheartedness. A gray hooded sweatshirt, available for purchase on the company’s website, says, “I’m Not a Playa’ I Just Shuck A Lot,” a witty play on rapper Big Pun’s 1998 single “Still Not a Player.” According to Gregg’s caption on an Instagram post for Modern Farmer, the sweatshirt is a hot item for 26-35-year-olds who recognize the hip-hop song.

Photo Credits: ModFarm
Gregg is also featured in documentary-style trailer titled “Oyster Renaissance” that showcases him farming oysters. His voiceover plays dramatically over stunning footage of New Jersey oyster farming landscapes.  

“It’s become my quest to grow the perfect oyster,” says Gregg in the video clip. “I don’t think I’ll ever achieve that feat because, in this case, the definition of perfect is open to interpretation.”

The video, hosted on Vimeo and linked on Forty North’s website, is another dynamic way multimedia is incorporated to further curate the brand’s persona.

Gregg grew up in Monmouth County and graduated from University of Rhode Island in 2007. The marine and coastal policy major founded Forty North Oyster Farm out of a passion for aquaculture.

Today, Gregg continues to build Forty North Oyster Farm’s image and name through social media. According its latest Instagram update on May 5, Forty North farmers are harvesting oysters for spring 2016.

Oyster farming may be an unusual segment of social media but Gregg operates platforms like Instagram and Vimeo in ways that relate to younger audiences. The farmer possesses a keen sense of contemporary Internet culture and showcases Forty North Oyster Farm with that lens. Witty captions and high-resolution photos on Instagram are just a few of the components that keep Gregg’s business afloat.

Serena Han recently graduated from Rutgers University as a journalism & media studies major with a double minor in digital communication, information, and media and Korean. She hopes to work in entertainment media.