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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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ORAL HISTORY

Cainnon Gregg


Pelican Oyster Company

Cainnon Gregg, born in 1985, was raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Gregg grew up with an interest in art. When he graduated from high school, he worked for a faux finisher in Jacksonville while touring with his punk band across the Southeast. In 2007, Gregg began working as an artist for Urban Outfitters in Charleston, South Carolina. A promotion moved Gregg to Atlanta, Georgia. While there, he happened to build tables for a new restaurant called Kimball House. When the restaurant opened, Gregg visited often, sampling oysters from all over the United States. He was intrigued by the bivalves. Both Gregg and his wife Kiki, both Florida natives, decided to move back to Tallahassee.

In 2017, Gregg was laid off from when his artist position at urban outfitters was eliminated. He continued to manage the Tallahassee location. He decided to pursue oyster aquaculture. In 2018, Gregg quit his job at Urban Outfitters and became a full-time oyster farmer. Two months later, Hurricane Michael hit Florida’s Gulf Coast and damaged his oyster lease. Gregg worked construction jobs until he got more oysters to plant. By early 2020, his farm was producing marketable oysters again. Gregg works alongside Jody and Dewey Houck, oyster farmers at the former Spring Creek Restaurant in Spring Creek, Florida. He sells his salty bird oysters to restaurants throughout the South.

Date of interview:
2021-05-27

Interviewer:
Annemarie Anderson

Photographer:
Annemarie Anderson

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