St. Jude Farms sits on the South Edisto River portion of the ACE Basin. The two-year-old seafood outfit is one of the first South Carolina companies to test out the sterile triploid oysters, or oysters with three sets of chromosomes.

"They don't spawn, so they grow faster," says Shane Doran, St. Jude's PR manager. And that increased growth rate, plus the cupped half-shell, could be a culinary cash cow for the young company.

Here's why: While areas farther up the East Coast have been growing triploids for nearly 40 years, the product is relatively new to the South. What researchers in Virginia have discovered is that triploid oysters have lower mortality rates than diploids, or traditional oysters. Bonus No. 1. Add to that the fact that they also have a greater weight yield and a higher proportion of market-size oysters than diploids, and you're shelling out a highly marketable product.

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