Specialty Oysters

Specialty Oysters

Unlike most of the world, where the Pacific oyster has taken over the oyster grounds, America still has its native oyster, the same one that fed the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Today, two-thirds of the national oyster harvest is Eastern oysters. While Pacific oysters are mostly cultivated, Eastern oysters are harvested mainly from wild beds in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re also farmed in Long Island Sound and parts of Atlantic Canada. Because of the different condi­tions associated with each grow-out region — nutrients in the water, salinity levels, temperature, etc. — oysters vary in taste from one area to the next and often bear the name of the region where they were grown as a means of distinguishing their individual flavor attri­butes. The renowned Blue Point, for example, hails from Long Island Sound. There are also the Chincoteagues, Apalachicolas and Cape Cods, each with its own character. Oysters are harvested from brackish, shallow water with dredges or tongs. Market size is usually 3 to 4 inches.

 

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