Go Shuck An Oyster's 10 Best of 2009

Here is the 10 best of the best from 2009:

10. Best Charitable Gift Option

The Massachusetts Oyster Project (MOP) MassOysterCard by Capital One is our pick for 2009 Best Charitable Gift Option.

The Massachusetts Oyster Project (MOP) is dedicated to the restoration of oysters to marine estuaries initially in the Boston area. Donations can be made by paypal, by mailing a check or by signing up for and using the MassOysterCard, a Capital One credit card. It has no fee, and if you use it once, they donate $25 to MOP. And 1% of all your purchases go to MOP. It is a painless way to give to a great cause. For more information visit them online by clicking here.

9. Best Guest Contributor Story
Bryan Kurzman, you have the title of 2009 Best Guest Contributor Story.

We receive a lot of emails at josh@goshuckanoyster.com (keep the coming!) and some of the emails we publish for our readers to enjoy. Several people enjoyed Bryan's discovery of an oyster stand at his local town fair. The original story is online by clicking here.

8. Best Oyster Shucking Gloves

Several of our readers liked the $4.49 glove mentioned here, while others chose a higher quality glove like this one and even this glove.

7. Best 'Free Knife' for my Blog Followers

With the coupon code: GoShuck, you'll receive a free shucking knife when placing an order for oysters or any other seafood with Farm 2 Market. See a review here or place your order here.

6. Best Volunteer Gig
Mass Oyster Project Placement Event

I had a blast helping out the good folks of MOP. They even gave me waders and put me to work in the water. Who knew a day helping them would get my picture in the Boston Herald. Read about the event here and here.

5. Best Will-Work-For-Oysters Experience
A Day with Aaron and Eric of The Big Rock Oyster Company

Oh, how we enjoyed a sunny July 2009 day on an oyster bed in Crowes Pasture. Read about the experience here. I look forward to spending a day or two with them again in 2010!

4. Best Author
Rowan Jacobsen

But you knew this already. Right?! If you didn't, what are you waiting for - order his books today for yourself or for someone you know who loves oysters. 2009 featured Jacobsen's newest book, The Living Shore. Our all time favorite book is still his, "A Geography of Oysters".

3. Best Festival
B&G Oyster Invitational

Unfortunately this year, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are not able to attend two festivals that would have been considered for title of Best Festival, The Wellfleet Oyster Fest and Island Creek Oyster Fest but take nothing away from B&G, the food was fabulous, the wine pairing blew us away and the class at Stir on Discovering your Oyster Palate was worth every penny. Also to rub shoulders with oyster celebrities like author Rowan Jacobson, the worlds fastest shucker William Chopper Young and Boston's best wine sommelier Cat Silirie to name a few. See our recap of the day here.

2. Best "Local" Oyster
Island Creek - hands down.

Okay, you know we are located on the East Coast, more specifically on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Island Creeks are everywhere around here but when I pick them up in Duxbury, damn they are tasty and fresh!

With several different people harvesting oysters in East Dennis, it should make for an interesting 2010 Best "Local" Oyster contest.

1. Best Shipped Oyster
Farm 2 Market

I often buy oysters from far away so I can try different ones. I am also fortunate enough to receive emails at josh@goshuckanoyster.com from a farm or store asking me if they can ship me some oysters or other seafood to sample. I'll gladly sample fresh oysters and seafood! If it's good, I'll even mention it on my blog and/or website. If it's not good, I'll still mention it on my blog and/or website so you better be proud of your product before you ask me to taste it and share my thoughts.

Why Farm 2 Market? I love my oysters fresh! They shipped me a ton of food over 3000 miles to demonstrate to me the freshness. My entire staff was quickly convinced and stuffed after a great meal. Read our review here.

I wish all of my readers a happy, healthy and shuckin' great 2010!

Farm 2 Market - Seafood so fresh you must try it!

Last week I placed an online order for oysters, mussels and clams at Farm 2 Market. The name of the company describes exactly what you experience with their product. My order left the Farm via FedEx standard overnight shipping and arrived some 3000 miles later on my doorstep within 24 hours. I live in New England and I often can not get seafood this fresh.

By the time "fresh" shellfish arrives at some local seafood stores or supermarkets, it might be out of the water for a one day, a few days or even longer. By the time you go to a store to purchase it, it is possible a few more days have passed. Even if you place an online order from Farm 2 Market in advance, your seafood doesn't leave the water until the day before when it is packed on ice-packs for shipment.

online oyster ordering farm 2 marketThe freshness of the seafood is amazing and immediately evident when you unpack the cooler. The shellfish arrived clean and packed in mesh bags, sorted by type and labeled. I ordered the "five dozen Cultured Oyster Sampler" which included: Kumamoto, Pacific Oyster Evening Cove, Stellar Bay, Deep Bay, and Penn Cove Select. Another benefit of ordering oysters online is that it allows you to try different oysters or oysters you can't get locally. Every oyster arrived alive and fresh, filled with their natural liquor, and excellent on the half shell. We simply shucked and ate them all, as we shucked them. They were the perfect start to the feast we had yet to enjoy.

oyster knife and gloveIf you don't have an oyster shucking knife, no need to panic as reading my blog has benefits. When you place an order with Farm 2 Market, type GOSHUCK in the promo code field and a quality oyster knife will be included with your order. My order came with two Dexter knifes, they have a short blade perfect for shucking (opening) all types of oysters.

Cooked Manila ClamsOur next endeavor were the Manila clams, 5 lbs to be exact. We cooked the clams into a pasta dish, which was delicious. The clams were clean and sweet, and were perfect in the Rachael Ray recipe, Spicy Fettucine with clams and chorizo.
Penn Cove Mussels
The Penn Cove mussels were our favorite, perhaps the best mussels any of us have had! Restaurant owners take note, get your mussels from Farm 2 Market! They were large, dark and fresh. They were ready to cook, after a quick rinse and a little debearding. They were incredible cooked with just a simple sauce of butter, garlic, wine and herbs.

where to buy sushi grade tunaAs a special treat, a tuna steak was included with my order, in a separate cooler. The tuna was sushi-grade tuna loin, about 2.5 lbs. It was so fresh it barely needed cooking. Some of us wanted to eat it raw or sashimi-style, but we elected to serve it lightly seared. It was incredible with just a little salt and pepper, and some sesame seeds.

Ordering online is easy. As you enter the website, you may even be greeted by a web greeter or fish expert. Jenny was my fish expert and she offered to help me with my order. I chose to try to navigate the website on my own and found it to be an easy experience but it was nice to know that help was a click away.

Given it's holiday season now, I will share a tip with you that the folks at Farm 2 Market informed me of. If you place an order, for something like the Oyster Sampler, when you receive your confirmation email, you'll be invited to add clams and mussels to your order at a discount. So place your fresh seafood holiday order today and enjoy a discount and a free oyster shucking knife. Don't forget the promo code GOSHUCK.


Are you an Oyster Aficionado?

Do you think you have the knowledge to call yourself an Oyster Aficionado? Now you can find out for sure by taking a ten question exam on the Oyster Aficionado website, for free! Before taking the exam you can read the information on the Oyster Aficionado website. The website has multiple modules that range from the history of oysters to the different species around the world. After you learn all of the information you can take the exam and email in your answers. Answer 9 out of 10 questions correctly and you'll receive an Oyster Aficionado Certificate of Achievement, suitable for framing. Go ahead, try to join me in the ranks of Oyster Aficionado!

A First Experience

An email from a reader:

"Surprisingly, until recently if you had put an oyster in front of me I would have cringed and pushed it away. While I have been an avid seafood eater my whole life, the idea of eating a raw, slimy oyster, as it is to many people today (not you of course), disgusted me. I was surrounded by them growing up, as my friends and family have been oyster eaters for as long as I can remember, but the idea of slurping one back just never appealed to me.

One day I was out with some friends at a local seafood joint. A few people ordered a HUGE platter of oysters, and while I insisted that I had no interest in trying one, they refused to take no for an answer. Maybe it was seeing how much the other people at the table were enjoying these super fresh oysters, or maybe it was because I had a handful of beers in me at this point, but I grabbed one, threw some lemon and cocktail sauce on that bad boy, and threw it back. It was love at first bite. I proceeded to put a down a half-dozen that night and never looked back. Within a few days, one of my salty, Cape Cod friends taught me how to shuck an oyster (it's all your fault, Sherman) and my passion for the crustaceans took off!!! I went out and got my first oyster knife, and before I knew it, I was buying oysters 3 nights a week for months! Soon, I was going to oyster festivals, hitting up various local oyster bars, finding the cheapest places in the area to buy oysters to shuck at home, etc."

I love your blog and wanted to share my story.

Oysters found on Squidoo

Oyster information can be found online at the website Squidoo. Unfamiliar with Squidoo? Squidoo is a website in which users create "lenses" on topics of interest. Lenses are pages, kind of like flyers or signposts or overview articles, that gather everything someone knows about a topic of interest--and snaps it all into focus.

So what oyster information can be found on Squidoo?

1. Go Shuck An Oyster - Connecting people with oysters, shucking knifes, festivals, t-shirts, etc.

2. Delicious Oyster Recipes - Recipes.

3. True Facts about Oysters - True facts.

4. Oyster - Information and facts.

5. Seafood Festivals - A listing of seafood festivals.

Click on some of the links above to view a Squidoo about oysters. Considering creating your own lense about a topic that interests you? Click here to get started and learn more.

Raw Oyster Eaters Unite in Response to FDA

Since the surprise announcement in mid October 2009 by the FDA at a meeting of shellfish regulators and industry, telling them that the FDA plans to ban the sale of live, in-the-shell Gulf Coast oysters for as much as 8 months every year, people have come together to speak out against the ban.

As of today, November 4, 2009, the number of people that have joined the Facebook group, Save Our Oysters is 1,693 and an astonishing 4,009 people have joined the Facebook group, Save the Gulf Coast Oyster Industry.

The website Save Our Shellfish is now online and it is here where people can sign a petition to, "Ask the FDA to stop all plans to implement the Gulf Coast oyster ban, and instead work with the established shellfish regulation system to address public health concerns with improved refrigeration and education programs."

Another petition to, "Save the Gulf Coast Shellfish Industry", is online here. Today it has 2,671 online signatures and has set of goal of 50,000.

The feud has also launched the recent creation of a Raw Oyster Blog.

As I see it, the fuss is now two-fold. It is true that Vibro Vulnificus is a deadly bacterial infection that affects oysters in warm waters, but is also extremely rare. The statistics I have seen recently show that 30 people per year are sickened by Vibro and 13 to 15 Gulf oyster-eaters die each year, nationwide by Vibro. Are these numbers low or high?

The FDA says high, as does the owner of Raw Oyster Alert, but most of the rest of the nation says low. And so low "that the FDA should not spend tax payer money on Vibro".

The second part of the problem, as I see it, is that the FDA acted unilaterally without input from the industry and state regulators. Cooperative efforts had been taking place for decades, until now. What happens next, I am curious to see.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Taylor Shellfish - Shipping Quality Oysters

Ordering oysters online is a great way to sample oysters you haven't tried, or to get fresh oysters you love sent right to your home. One place where you can get fresh oysters shipped directly to you is the online store of Taylor Shellfish Farms.

Taylor Shellfish Farms, located in the Pacific Northwest, has been growing shellfish in the bays and inlets of Puget Sound for over 100 years, and they have mastered the art of packing and shipping oysters from the sea to your home.

Two days ago, I spoke with Kate at Taylor Shellfish and today my oysters arrived. To the left is a picture of the outside of the box, clearly marked, "Handle with Care". Below is the inside of the box. Resting on top of the treasure chest of a box were two

ice packs, still cold. The treasure chest as I describe it, is actually a best selling item at Taylor Shellfish called an Oyster Gift Box 1. My Oyster Gift Box 1 contained two dozen oysters. Six each of the Virginicas, Pacifics, Kumamotos & Olympias.

You'll notice in the picture to the left that the Gift Box also contained an oyster shucking knife. It was fun to try a different knife and add to my knife collection. The Box also came with a descriptive oyster profile paper complete with text and photos, a link to a website for help with pairing oysters with wine, and a guide to shucking oysters. The two dozen oysters made a great appetizer for two of us. My wife is new to shucking oysters and she was able to follow the directions provided and shuck her own oysters. It will be nice to have another shucker around!! The only thing she needed that was not provided was a glove. Fortunately, I have plenty of extra gloves. While gloves are not mandatory, they might come in handy if you are new to shucking but you can always use a towel.

Here are few more pictures of the oysters.
To the left, the four different oysters. Below, notice the liquor still on the oyster and the little I spilled setting up my photo. I was pleasantly surprised with the large amount of liquor

in each oyster, we really were able to taste the flavors of Puget Sound 3000 miles away!

If you've been on the fence about ordering live raw oysters, it time to get over it and order them. Just be sure to order them from a reputable oyster farm such as Taylor Shellfish! When you do, tell them that Josh at Go Shuck An Oyster sent you.

Do you know an oyster lover or osteaphile? The oyster box would make a great gift.

The Taylor Shellfish store can be reached online at www.taylorshellfishstore.com or by calling 360-432-3300. Place your order today and then get ready to Go Shuck An Oyster!

Mass Oyster Project - Placement Event

Today I had the pleasure of serving as a volunteer at the Massachusetts Oyster Project's placement event where 50,000 oysters purchased from Island Creek Oyster were placed into the Boston Harbor.

The volunteers formed into teams to start placing oysters into structures that were later placed on the bottom of Boston Harbor. Measurements were taken on several of the oysters and then the cages and equipment were handed off to divers who placed them below the low-tide line. Towards the end of the day, additional oysters were dropped from a boat in carefully identified areas.

Oysters filter and clean water. The hope of today's event is that the oysters will contribute to the cleaning of Boston Harbor. More information is available on the Mass Oyster Project blog and website. To contribute to the Mass Oyster Project click here or contact them at massoyster@gmail.com.

Here is a link to news coverage by the Boston Herald.

Here are few more pictures from today.

Here is a video that captured the day.

FDA Oyster Ban - Press Release

U.S. FDA Ban on raw oysters will put thousands of Gulf Coast men and women out of work, and threaten other regions Shellfish community and food lovers nationwide unite against plan.

OCT. 22 - An unprecedented proposal to ban raw Gulf Coast oysters, developed unilaterally by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will threaten thousands of jobs and crush a clean, sustainable fishery, according to food lovers, fishermen and community leaders.

On Saturday, Oct. 17 the FDA made a surprise announcement at a meeting of shellfish regulators and industry, telling them that the agency plans to ban the sale of live, in-the-shell Gulf Coast oysters for as much as 8 months every year. The proposed ban was developed without public input and FDA officials admit they have not analyzed the economic impact. Officials have also suggested that new restrictions may be in the works for West Coast and East Coast shellfish.
“This would cost us thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars if we were unable to sell our
oysters as we do today. The new FDA direction makes no sense – Louisiana is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina,” said Al Sunseri of P & J Oyster Co. in New Orleans.
FDA officials suggested that consumers of live half-shell oysters will willingly switch to frozen or
processed versions of the traditional Gulf Coast food, but that’s absurd, according to restaurant owner Chris Hastings.

“I’m not buying a frozen or pasteurized oyster,” says Hastings, owner of the Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama, a nationally recognized restaurant specializing in fresh, regional food. Hastings says FDA’s belief that consumers will simply switch to processed oysters is like claiming that people don’t appreciate the difference between fresh strawberries and frozen ones.
“It’s just such a false statement,” Hastings says of the suggestion that processed oysters can replace fresh ones. “And it’s a false assumption that the Gulf oyster business can survive with such harsh new regulations,” he adds.

Shellfish growers in other regions are worried that the Gulf Oyster ban could set the stage for
oppressive rules all around the country.

“A requirement to process oysters flies in the face of the resurgence of raw oyster bars across the
country, and the growing natural “slow” foods movement,” says Robin Downey, executive director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association. “Growers are proud of the high quality, wholesome, fresh shellfish they provide to their customers. Taking the choice to eat raw oysters away from them is preposterous.”

The East Coast shellfish community expressed concern, too. Bob Rheault, executive director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, says it’s clear that regulation of his region is likely not far behind. "I am concerned that the FDA had chosen to disregard decades of cooperation between state managers and the FDA,” Rheault says. “FDA openly acknowledges that even this
economically crippling regulation will not eliminate the problem. So one has to ask "What's next?"

On the Gulf Coast, oysters are the economic cornerstone for many small towns, employing thousands of individual oyster fishers and plant workers and suppling a network of oyster bars and restaurants throughout the region. Shutting down for 8 months would be a disaster, says Leo "Chipper" McDermott, mayor of Pass Christian, Mississippi. The oyster industry “is vital to the Gulf Coast area,” he says, adding that a ban “will have a devastating effect” on the coastal economy. “I wish they would come down here and look at the real economic impact,” McDermott says of FDA officials.

With unemployment already near 10 percent nationally, the proposed ban has many baffled and angry.

“This could be the end of our way of life,” says Tommy Ward of Buddy Ward and Sons Seafood in
Apalachicola, Florida. “It would bankrupt our town,” adds Anita Grove, director of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce.

FDA officials say the Gulf oyster ban is necessary to protect public health because a naturally occurring bacteria sickens about 30 people each year. The bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, can be deadly for people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as liver damage caused by chronic alcohol abuse. But virtually none of the Vibrio vulnificus cases on record have hurt healthy people, and many questioned why the FDA is singling out one small industry when others do so much more harm.

According to the FDA there are an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness annually, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. But the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria that the oyster ban is supposed to address is responsible for only 1/10 of 1 percent of food-related deaths (about 15 per year are traced to Gulf Coast states) and an even smaller percentage of illness, according to CDC estimates. In other words, 99.9 percent of illnesses occur in other foods, but FDA wants to ban raw oysters. The Vibrio bacteria exist in salt
waters around the world. Shellfish lovers say they know traditional raw oysters aren’t for everyone. Some people turn up their noses at the very thought, just like some people choose not to eat meat, wild mushrooms, sushi, raw eggs or chicken. But fishermen and restaurant owners ask, if the FDA can ban raw oysters, what’s next? A ban on raw clams? Peanuts? Fresh fruit and vegetables?

Under pressure from shellfish regulators, harvesters, and dealers, the FDA has tentatively agreed to examine the economic impact of the proposed ban, and has also agreed to a collaborative meeting in the summer of 2010 to focus on the proposed Gulf oyster ban, which would take effect in the spring of 2011.

“The FDA proposal is scientifically and legally flawed,” says Kevin Begos, executive director of the Franklin County Oyster & Seafood Task Force. “There is no such thing as zero-risk in life, and people have the right to eat a simple, natural food that humans have enjoyed for thousands of years.”

The shellfish community had been working with FDA and state regulators on improved refrigeration and harvest controls, and Begos said the community will continue such efforts. FDA officials admit their unilateral action may be unprecedented for the agency.
Begos noted that tax dollars are paying for the misguided FDA crusade, and that public health rules are supposed to target the biggest problems, not the smallest ones. “With a federal deficit of over 9 trillion dollars, does it make sense to go after the industry that causes 1/10 of a percent of all food illnesses, or focus on the 99.9 percent of the problem?” Begos asked.

For more information on the shellfish community, contact the following:

Kevin Begos
Franklin County Oyster & Seafood Task Force
Apalachicola, Florida
850-653 3351

Robin Downey
Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association
Olympia, WA 98501

Thomas J. Kehoe
K&B Seafood, Inc.
East Northport, New York 11731

Robert Rheault
East Coast Shellfish Growers Association
Wakefield, RI 02879

Taunya James
Franklin County Seafood Workers Association
Apalachicola, Florida
850-387 5982

Alfred Sunseri
Gulf Oyster Industry Council Board Member
P & J Oyster Company, Inc.
New Orleans, LA 70112

October Oyster Festivals to Consider

Oct. 17 & 18, 2009
Wellfleet Oyster Fest, Cape Cod, MA

Oct. 17 & 18, 2009
North Carolina Oyster Festival, NC

Oct. 17 & 18, 2009
St. Mary's County, MD

Oct. 25, 2009
Lynnhaven Shellfish Company and Bubba's Seafood Festival, VA


- Wellfleet Oyster Fest, Cape Cod, MA

The ninth annual Wellfleet OysterFest takes place the weekend after Columbus Day, Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, 2009, in Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Mass. This two-day street party celebrates the town's famous oysters, clams and shellfishing traditions and brings together locals and visitors alike for a weekend full of hometown flavor and big time fun.

The town center becomes a walking district that offers something for everyone: local cuisine, arts and crafts, children's activities, educational exhibits, live music and the Oyster Shuck-Off competition. Satellite events away from the crowds, and many with the beautiful harbor as a backdrop, showcase all that our village has to offer: beachcombing and bird walks, a 5K road race and children's fun run, cooking demonstrations, tasting seminars, book talks, and oyster grant tours.

Families have a FREE children’s area to explore with a moonbounce, pumpkin decorating, face painting, oyster jewelry making, a steel drum workshop, sing-a-longs and more. Over 90 regional artisans will sell their crafts. Live music on the Main Stage will feature many local and regional bands.

North Carolina Oyster Festival, NC

Oysters—Marine mollusks having a rough irregular shell found on the sea bed, mostly in coastal water. The coastal waters of Brunswick County produce an abundance of oysters. Each year, over 45,000 people, including locals and visitors, attend the North Carolina Oyster Festival to pay homage to the mighty mollusk. 2009 will mark the 29th anniversary of the festival, which will be hosted by the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce on October 17-18, 2009.

- St. Mary's County, MD

Find more videos like this on Rotary Club of Lexington Park

- Lynnhaven Shellfish Company and Bubba's Seafood Festival, VA

Seafood Festival, Bubba’s and Lynnhaven Shellfish Company on Shore Drive, Virginia Beach
Tickets $35 per person, proceeds support Lynnhaven River NOW.

For a complete listing of upcoming oyster festivals, visit www.goshuckanoyster.com/Events.html

Oyster Project Honored by Coastal America

LEWES, Del. — The Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Project, an ongoing effort to revitalize Eastern oysters in Delaware Bay, was honored with a 2008 Coastal America Partnership Award on October 4 during a bayside ceremony held at the University of Delaware’s Coast Day festival in Lewes, Delaware. The Coastal America Partnership Award is the only environmental award of its kind given by the White House.

Virginia Tippie, director of Coastal America, together with Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Policy and Legislation), Terrence Salt, presented plaques, certificates, and congratulatory letters from President Barack Obama to representatives from each of the Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Task Force’s 12 member-organizations.

“It has been deeply gratifying for us to play a role in bringing back Delaware Bay’s oysters,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Tickner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District, which manages the project for the federal government. “No fewer than 12 agencies, public and private, joined forces in common cause and have seen tangible success as a direct result of their efforts.”

Coastal America’s Partnership Award recognizes the collaborative, multi-agency effort that was needed to leverage and combine enough resources to successfully restore, preserve and protect Delaware Bay’s population of Eastern oysters. It furthermore recognizes the value of the task force’s outreach efforts, an example of which could be seen at Coast Day in the form of an exhibition booth hosted by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, complete with freshly roasted Delaware Bay oysters available for free to thousands of festival goers.

“New Jersey is proud to be a partner in the Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Project and a co-sponsor with the State of Delaware. Our region will continue to yield significant environmental and economic benefits from this innovative project,” said Mark N. Mauriello, acting commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “We also recognize that this celebration of success was made possible through the solid support we received from Governors Jon Corzine and Jack Markell, congressional members in New Jersey and Delaware, and our colleagues in the State of Delaware as well as those in academia, government agencies and non-government organizations.”

Since 2005, the Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Task Force has strategically placed, or “planted,” over 2.1 million bushels of clam and oyster shells onto historic reefs in Delaware Bay thanks to $5 million provided by Congress and administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It has done so to achieve two objectives: to enhance survival by providing clean shell to which juvenile oysters can attach and grow, and to maintain the ecology of the bay by sustaining oyster reefs that would otherwise degrade over time due to natural processes.

“The Delaware Bay is a recreational treasure and an economic engine for our region,” said Collin P. O’Mara, secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “The Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Project supports both the ecological restoration of our native oyster and the revitalization of our commercial oyster industry. The project’s outstanding success reflects the close cooperation between New Jersey, Delaware and all partners and the dedicated commitment to improving the health and sustainability of the Delaware Bay.”

This program has successfully stabilized the oyster beds of Delaware Bay. In fact, 2007 was the first year since 1999 that the oyster-shell resource has been in equilibrium or increased. More importantly, there has been a substantial increase in the survival of juvenile oysters. The projected harvest quota for oysters reared in 2008 is now the third-highest since the mid-1980s, and the estimated impact of the 2007 fiscal-year program alone is $90 million — equating to more than $40 for every federal dollar invested.

This award adds to a growing list of accolades for the bi-state project; a list that also includes a gold medal from the Federal Executive Board in May and a 2008 Government Award from the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin in April of last year. Nevertheless, the Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Project recently exhausted the last of its federal funding on September 30. Task force leaders are currently pursuing every lead available to them in an effort to raise new funds for continued shell planting.

Due to a decrease in funding, this year’s planting effort was the leanest to date at approximately 212,000 bushels, down from a peak of more than 681,000 bushels in 2007. Less shell planted in Delaware Bay means less habitat where juvenile oysters can grow.

“The shell-planting program has brought the bay back from the lowest abundance of oysters in 2004 observed since the early 1950s to a level capable of sustaining an important fishery and providing the ecological benefits obtained from healthy oyster habitat, but cessation of funding will rapidly rob the momentum we have gained,” said Dr. Eric Powell, director of Rutgers University’s Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, which sits beside the bay in Bivalve, New Jersey. “Continuation of the program is critical for maintaining the long-term health of Delaware Bay.”

Members of the Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Task Force include the:

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
  • Rutgers University’s Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory
  • Delaware River Basin Commission
  • Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
  • Delaware State University’s College of Agriculture and Related Sciences
  • Delaware River and Bay Authority
  • Cumberland Empowerment Zone Corporation
  • Delaware Bay Section of the Shell Fisheries Council
  • Delaware Shellfish Advisory Council
  • Commercial Township, New Jersey
Coastal America is a partnership of federal agencies, state and local governments, and private organizations whose mission it is to protect, preserve, and restore the nation’s coasts. For more information, please visit www.DelawareEstuary.org or www.CoastalAmerica.gov.

Additional Photographs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/delawareestuary/sets/72157622396820111

"The Living Shore: Rediscovering a Lost Word" by Rowan Jacobsen

the living shore oyster book

It is time get the hottest book on the oyster market: The Living Shore: Rediscovering a Lost World by Rowan Jacobsen.

Jacobsen is the James Beard Award-winning author of A Geography of Oysters: The Connoisseur's Guide to Oyster Eating in North America.

books about oysters
His newest book, The Living Shore explains how the decimation of oysters and other shellfish is a loss for everyone who depends on the health of the seas. Shellfish are the lynchpins of coastal ecosystems, the coral reefs of the temperate world. By filtering water, stabilizing shorelines, and providing complex habitat, they make estuaries the most productive environments on earth. Yet few healthy oyster reefs remain, and the race is on to protect the last ones.
What begins as a quest to find rare oysters becomes an exploration of our ancient connection to that “living shore.” New archaeology from British Columbia to South Africa reveals how the coast has supported our development and well-being, from our modern origins 164,000 years ago to our colonization of North America. There are reasons we feel such a profound connection to the shore. When we became estranged from that world, we also lost touch with a fundamental part of being human.

But all is not lost. The Living Shore profiles the extraordinary efforts underway to reestablish native shellfish populations and reverse the decline of the seas, and shows the promise-as the scientists on the expedition discover-of the return of a world so vital to our physical and spiritual sustenance.
Once you read The Living Shore please post your comments below.

Interested in Meeting the Author?
Jacobsen has several appearances scheduled, click here for a listing. I had the opportunity to meet him at last years B&G Oysters Event and I can tell you he's first class: friendly, approachable, and inspiring.

You can learn more about the author on his website.

Information from this posting was obtained, with permission, from www.rowanjacobsen.com


Recipe - Baked Stuffed Lobster Tails

A Fine Lobster Recipe:

Cooking with fine lobster
Baked Stuffed Lobster Tails

* Ingredients 4 8-ounce lobster tails
* 6 tbs unsalted butter, softened
* 1/3 cup fresh tarragon leaves, loosely packed
* 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
* 2/3 cup bread crumbs
* 1 large shallot, minced
* 3 tbs pine nuts, toasted
* 3 qts water
* 3 tbs salt
* 1 onion, cut into eighths
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 large potatoes, halved, crosswise
* salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Instructions

Blend together the butter, tarragon, lemon juice, bread crumbs, shallots and pine nuts in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. In a large pot, combine the water, salt, onion and bay leaf. Add the lobster tails and cook for 5 minutes. Cut a crosswise slit at each end of the underside of each lobster tail. Cut 2 lengthwise slits down the underside from one crosswise slit to the other to remove only a rectangular piece of the undersection of each lobster tail. Spread 1/4 of the stuffing down the tail. Arrange the lobsters in a baking dish and use the potato wedges, one up against each side of the tail, to keep the tail from rolling over. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until stuffing is crisp and browned. Discard the potatoes and serve immediately. Serves 4

Oyster Events at Legal Sea Foods around Boston, MA

Get ready, from September 7 through October 17, 2009, Legal Sea Foods is celebrating Oysters around Boston with the following events:

- Bivalves & Bubbles
A VIP cocktail party hosted by President and CEO Roger Berkowitz, Executive Chef Rich Vellante and Master of Wine Sandy Block.
September 9, 2009
6-8pm at Park Square
Tickets: $60 (including tax and gratuity)
Bring the restaurant tasting Clam Chowder to your kitchen table....Shop Legal Sea Foods Today

- Shells & Shooters
Oyster tasting and tutorial: oysters by the bushel as well as a trio of Belvedere shooters.
September 12, 2009
3:30-5pm at Charles Square
Tickets: $50 (including tax and gratuity)
Bring the restaurant home....Shop Legal Sea Foods Today

- Sip, Slurp and Sup Wine Dinner
A five course meal - everything oyster - paired with wines, hosted in the 10,000 bottle Park Square wine celler.
September 24, 2009
6:30pm at Park Square
Tickets: $75 (including tax and gratuity)
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- Bivalve 'Brew'haha
A five course craft beer dinner featuring oysters.
September 30, 2009
6:30pm at Prudential Center
Tickets: $55 (including tax and gratuity)
Legal Sea Foods Gift Certificates...Easy, Flexible, Memorable

- Oyster Tasting and Tutorial
Become a maven of the bi-valve mollusk!
October 3, 2009 3:30-5pm at Copley Place
Tickets $45 (sponsored by Boston Center for Adult Education)
Treat your family to restaurant quality meals in the comfort of your own home. Shop Legal Sea Foods Today

- Shellfish Shindig
On the tip of Boston Fish Pier, a raw oyster bar and a traditional New England Clam Bake.
October 4, 2009
5-7pm at Exchange Conference Center
Tickets: $65 (including tax and gratuity)
Legal Sea Foods delivering the highest quality seafood and gourmet gifts available. Shop Today

- Mollusk Mania & Aw Shucks, Raffle for Pearls at Burlington
Oyster tasting and tutorial: oysters by the bushel as well as one jewel of a door prize - a $1250 DePrico pearl necklace
October 14, 2009
6-7:30pm at Burlington Mall
Tickets: $45 (including tax and gratuity)

Legal Sea Foods

Comparison of Oyster Shucking Knives: by Jerilee Beitzel

oyster shucking knife collection
Selecting a Good Oyster Knife.  A comparison of brands of oyster knives:

The first thing anyone wishing to shuck oysters should do, is obtain the best oyster knife that they can afford. This is a purchase that ensures that not only will you have the right tool for the job, but also will be helping to make the process of shucking a little less dangerous.

Far too often, oyster harvesters purchase cheap oyster knives and find themselves with a nasty cut or nick, when the flimsy knife breaks. As with anything, do your research before you buy a good quality oyster knife. Your fingers may thank you. Here are this author's opinions on the following five oyster knives on the market:

The reason you need a real oyster knife is that it is designed for the specific task of prying oysters open. Other knives aren't up to the task. You'll need this important addition to your kitchen culinary supplies.Some oyster knives vary in the shape of the blade. Usually, the blade is somewhat triangular shaped, short, and blunt.

oyster knife1. Gourmac 323771 Oyster Knives, 3 assorted Oyster Shell Handles, currently retailing for around $15.00

While moderately priced as a set of three, these oyster knives were not meant for serious shucking of oysters, because the handles are not comfortable. The knife blade is also too flimsy.

2. OXO Good Grips Oyster Knife,  a set of two currently retails for around $20.00.
how to open an oyster
This stainless steel and black non-slip plastic oyster knife is of a good size
for shucking at 7 inches. Supposedly, the handle absorbs pressure while you shuck but I found no discernable difference in it and other oyster knives. It is dishwasher safe. However, it has been my experience, that this particular inexpensive oyster knife will break, when you least expect it.

open an oyster
3. I had better luck with a Chroma USA Oyster/Paring Knife, that while a little pricey was a very comfortable short, thick bladed oyster knife. This professional Japanese steel bladed knife retails between $40-$50. This is a very well made knife.

knife for oyster
4. One of my favorite knives for shucking oysters is the Wusthof Oyster knife. It is truly a quality stainless steel bladed knife of a very comfortable size that retails between $45-65.00. Sorry I don't have a picture of it, as it was borrowed from another oyster-shucking aficionado.

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knife for shucking oysters
5. A more modestly priced better oyster-shucking knife is the Victorinox Oyster knife. This oyster knife is a high quality carbon stainless steeled blade and larger handled than others. It retails for a moderately priced $25-$30.

Overall, I would recommend, in the following order:
    -  Wusthof Oyster knife,
    -  Chroma USA Oyster/Paring knife,
    -  Victorinox Oyster knife.

The selection of a good oyster shucking knife boils down to personal preference and common sense. Oyster shucking can be slightly dangerous, so keep in mind that a good forged knife is always better than a stamped knife. A good quality knife, while more expensive, is simply a better knife.

article written by Jerilee Beitzel, used with permission.

Need an Oyster Shucking Glove - Click Here: Oyster Shucking Glove Options

Support the Massachusetts Oyster Project by using a credit card.

GoShuckAnOyster.com encourages you to support the Massachusetts Oyster Project (MOP) by signing up for and using a credit card.

MOP has partnered with CapitalOne to develop a no-fee affinity credit card. If you sign up and use it once, they donate $25 to MOP and then 1% of all paid charges thereafter will go to MOP. MOP will use these funds to help place oysters in the harbor.

For more information about the Massachusetts Oyster Project read my April 2, 2009 blog post or visit the Mass Oyster Blog by clicking here.

GoShuckAnOyster.com wins title of "Best Friend" from OysterEaters.com

OysterEaters.com today upgraded GoShuckAnOyster.com from "Friend" to top title of "Best Friend".

OysterEaters.com is being created to test drive HubSpot platform and search engine optimization. With websites like Blogger and GoDaddy, building a blog or website is simple. The challenge is having people find your website or blog and this is where HubSpot comes in. Learn more about Hubspot at http://www.hubspot.com/.

Pirate Shellfish - Wellfleet, MA

pirate shellfish wellfleet maWe always enjoy receiving emails from oyster lovers who like to share oyster experiences on our blog. Here is a recent email from our friend Bryan Kurzman:

Hi Josh,

Over this last past weekend, my family and I attended the Barnstable County Fair in Falmouth, MA. In the food court section of the fair, among all the greasy fried dough and hot dog vendors, was a well-managed booth exhibit by Pirate Shellfish, proudly displaying, and of course selling, Wellfleet Oysters.

wellfleet oyster tastingThe shop keeper – Clint Austin – had his own oysters for sale at a more than reasonable $1 each. At first glance, I could not bring myself to eat oysters at a county fair, however after checking it out, I found this booth to be well run, clean, organized and strict – all oysters were on ice and temperature gauges were everywhere to ensure quality control.

I started with 3, which led to another 3 which quickly led a dozen – the oysters were fresh, delicious and had that classic ocean fresh oyster taste. It was a great experience all the way around. The booth offered all the fixings and trimmings – lemon, Tabasco, horseradish and cocktail sauce so you could dress to your liking.

Clint knew his goods, knew what he was doing and offered a crushed shell-free shuck. Here is a link to their site if you are interested in checking them out on the web.

All in all, I give the experience, and of course the oysters, a 10 out of 10. Good stuff.


PS - Attached are two pictures of me at the Fair

A day with Aaron & Eric from The Big Rock Oyster Company

Earlier today I met up with my brother, father and step mother before meeting Aaron and Eric who took us on a 'working tour" of their 2 acre oyster farm in Crowes Pasture, East Dennis, MA. Due to the timing of the tides, we arranged to meet them at the East Dennis Tedeschi at 8:30 AM before proceeding to Crowes Pasture. Also at the meeting point was a group of people that Eric met during the recent 2009 MS Bike Ride, a 2 day / 150 mile bike ride from Boston Harbor to Provincetown to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.

Getting to Crowes Pasture is somewhat of an adventure in itself and requires either walking or a four wheel drive vehicle. The posted speed limit signs of 10 MPH are laughable because you can only drive about 2- 4 MPH due to the large bumps and turns but soon enough we arrived, parked the car and walked a few feet to the beach.

Here is a picture of our arrival onto the beach.

After taking in the nice scenery we proceeded about 200 yards to Aaron and Eric's oyster beds. Aaron and Eric are quick to explain the oyster growing process and to answer any questions. Working so close to the beach, people often approach them and ask questions. The common ones include:

1. Do you find pearls in the oysters?
Answer: No, probably because they aren't opening the oysters. However, Aaron's brother-in-law did find a tiny pearl once! How oysters make pearls: "The oyster’s mantle (skin) makes both an outer white crusty shell, and a smooth inner shell. The smooth inner part is called “nacre” or “Mother of Pearl.” Sometimes a bit of sand gets inside the oyster’s shell. This is very irritating to the oyster, like getting an eyelash in your eye. So the oyster covers this bit of dirt with shiny smooth Mother of Pearl. It keeps covering the dirt and rolling it around until it doesn’t cause any more irritation. This makes a pearl."source.

2. Where can we buy your oysters?
Answer: The oysters grown by Big Rock Oyster Company can be found in local restaurants.

3. What do you feed the oysters?
Answer: Well, they don't hand feed each of the 2.5 million oysters three times a day... Oysters are filter-feeders. They suck in water and filter out and swallow the plankton.

We also learned that Aaron applied for the permit seven years ago when he heard the town was starting to sell permits to residents. Aaron and Eric now own two acres of land and can grow about 2.5 million oysters. What they produce, they eat, give to friends and sell to wholesalers. They prefer to sell 1000 oysters at a time but often fill smaller orders upon request. I'd encourage you to contact them to place an order but from what I understand their oysters are so popular that they can't produce them fast enough and have no problem selling them to those who wish to pick them up.

The motto of the day was, "Work as much or as little as you want." I chose to work. My main job involved moving the younger/smaller oysters from the bags to cages. Others spent time sorting oysters by size, using a home-made oyster sorting machine that Eric built with a friend.

Aaron and Eric are impressive guys. They both maintain full time work and put in at least three to four hours of work five days per week on the oysters. If it wasn't for the tide coming in and putting the oysters under 8 - 10 feet of water, I think they'd spend all day tending to their oysters. Many oyster farmers grow attached to the oysters they are harvesting, and these two are no exception. They care about the end result and are proud that people buy and enjoy what they grow.

Here are additional pictures:

Eric and Aaron.

For my efforts today, Aaron handed me an empty bag and told me to take what I would eat. I took about 30 oysters. I ate 10 for lunch, dropped 10 off to my father-in-law in Falmouth and will eat the rest right now. Today was a great day of working, learning and enjoying fresh oysters from The Big Rock Oyster Company!