Holiday issue 2013
By Gael Hawkins
I’ve been having one of those “why didn’t I think of this?” moments. Fresh, locally harvested seafood and fixings delivered to your cottage or motel-either cooked or ready to steam-an hour after a phone call to Captain Puddle Ducks’ Steamer Pots. What a great idea! Now in its third season, this local family business has perfected the ultimate Ocracoke seafood experience for a picnic, a large crowd or a laid-back family dinner after a day at the beach. Commercial fisherman Fletcher O’Neal and his wife Heather, who works at the Ocracoke School, offer their made-to-order feasts from May until the end of January. Fletcher and his son Hunter catch the majority of seafood from the Pamlico Sound-shrimp: blue crabs, clams, and stone crab claws. Lobster, snow crab legs, mussels and dungeness crabs are delivered fresh to Captain Puddle Ducks three times a week.
Heather does the preparation and cooking. The corn and potatoes that she adds to the steamer pots are all sourced from NC farms. During the first season, food prep and cooking were done in a borrowed commercial kitchen. Now, the O’Neals have their own certified kitchen facilities which has streamlined their operation. Five different steamer pots that will feed from 2-6 people are available plus the design is your own option. Andouille sausage can be added to any steamer, too. When the steamer pot arrives, it includes everything you will need including cooking instructions if you choose to do the steaming yourself. Son Ethan is the delivery guy who will answer any questions you might have about the food. The other two O’Neal sons play an important role in this business-they watch over their baby sister Maranda so that mom Heather can keep the pots rolling in the kitchen. Check out Captain Puddle Ducks’ Steamer Pots website, http://www.puddleducksteamers.com, for all the details. And don’t forget that come November, oysters will be available.