The Ward Family of Apalachicola Florida has been selected by the Franklin County Extension Office and recognized through the North Florida Fair’s Outstanding Farm Family Program for the 2014 year. This long-standing program seeks to recognize the importance of agriculture and the families that work in agriculture to the North Florida area. Although Franklin County does not have very much traditional agriculture, such as row crops, livestock production, etc., it does have a vital seafood industry.
The Ward family has been in this business for three generations under the name of “13 Mile Brand” seafood. The name comes from the location of the family’s seafood facility that is located 13 miles west of the town of Apalachicola. The family runs an oyster processing facility at 13 Mile and a shrimp facility and retail market in town. They also maintain some underwater leases for oyster harvesting in the western end of Apalachicola Bay. True to the family’s caretaker attitude for the bay, they have been adding their processed oyster shell back to the bay for many years as a rebuilding program for oyster habitat. Baby oysters are able to attach and grow on dead shell and help to repopulate the numbers of this important molluscan shellfish.
Family members gathered for a photo with the crystal vase, engraved with the Ward Family name, in front of their Apalachicola retail market. Many thanks to the North Florida Fair organization for this important effort to recognized our Franklin County citizens.