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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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T.J. Ward

13 Mile Seafood and Indian Lagoon Fish and Oyster Company

T.J. Ward was raised in Apalachicola, Florida. His family’s seafood business, 13 Mile Seafood, began as Miller Fish and Oyster Company in the 1920s. In 1957, Ward’s grandfather, Buddy, bought 13 Mile Seafood from his wife’s family. He renamed the business Buddy Ward and Sons Seafood. In the 1960s, the family came to Apalachicola and began to shrimp. Ward grew up around the family business with his grandfather Buddy and his father, Tommy. As a young boy, he spent much time in the shrimp house and around the oyster lease his family owns on St. Vincent Island.

After attending the University of West Florida, Ward returned to work with his father at 13 Mile. He feels a familial responsibility to the business. When the oyster fishery in Apalachicola collapsed in 2012, Ward decided to start farming oysters. Ward applied for an oyster aquaculture lease in 2016. His farm, Indian Lagoon Fish and Oyster Company is located in Indian Lagoon in neighboring Gulf County.

Date of interview:

Annemarie Anderson

Annemarie Anderson

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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