You may have heard the saying that you should only eat oysters in months that have an ?R? in them. This adage comes in part because the summer months (without an R) are the breeding season for wild oysters, and overfishing has decimated wild populations. But did you know that farmed oysters are actually incredibly sustainable? And even better, you can eat them all year round!
True Chesapeake Oyster Co. farms oysters in St. Jerome Creek in St. Mary?s County, Maryland and is one of the largest oyster farms in the state. Since 2010, they have been growing what oyster aficionados say are the best tasting oysters in the world, and production has reached one million bivalves a year. Since the 1800s, their location in the Chesapeake Bay has been known for the quality of its water and the oysters it produces. Says owner Patrick Hudson, ?We’re lucky to have some of the best oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. It’s the perfect place for oysters to thrive.?
Not only are their oysters delicious, but True Chesapeake Oyster Co. is deeply committed to growing their oysters as sustainably as possible. “Wild oyster harvesting has resulted in the drastic, severe decline of oyster populations,? says Patrick. He’s on a mission to bring these oyster populations back and help the entire Chesapeake Bay in the process. “Oysters have a tremendously positive impact on the ecosystems around them, because they are filter feeders,” Patrick explains. They filter sediment and algae from the water and make it clearer, allowing sunlight to enter and encourage plant life, which supports the overall health of the ecosystem. They also help remove nitrogen runoff from the water to use in shell production. Finally, the cages used to farm the oysters create habitat for vulnerable marine species that have been overfished in the Bay, such as blue crab and flounder. These manmade oyster reefs protect thousands of animals from predators until they are big enough to live on their own. “By eating farm-raised oysters, you’re taking a huge burden off the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and restoring valuable habitat,” says Patrick.
True Chesapeake Oyster Co. will be at the Silver Spring market this Saturday, June 18, from 9am to 1pm. They?ll be serving their popular Skinny Dipper select oysters, as well as the smaller Huckleberry Cocktail oysters. Thanks to being grown where the fresh bay water meets the ocean, these oysters have a ?soft salt? taste. Enjoy them shucked fresh at market with lemon juice and cocktail sauce, or take some home for a Father?s Day celebration?and feel good about supporting the Chesapeake Bay in the process!