Oysters harvested from farms along the East Coast are a hit in the farm-to-table movement .As it becomes increasingly popular to know where our food comes from and eat locally produced dishes ,oyster farmers find that they´re filling a niche.As the allure of farming has grown ,so has the dependability and availability of reliable product,which means more restaurants can rely on consistent supply and more apt to feature local oysters on their menus .
“We are really celebrating the differences and the flavour ,and the localvore movement and the sense of place”, says Robert Rheault ,executive director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association .Currently ,about 350 oyster farmers cultivate bottom leases in shallow waters along the northeastern seaboard from Virginia to Maine.”We think nationwide ,there´s enough oysters in the pipeline to double the supply in the next two to three years .We did that in the last five years -and nobody thought that was possible,” says Rheault.
Every spring and early summer brings a predictable shortage ,when many of the market-size East Coast cage oysters have been picked .But East Coast farms are increasingly producing high-quality product year-round , and many raw bar restaurants can leave oysters on menus and rely on dependable supply of uniform bivalves.
“Supply has started to change ,and it´s improved over the last two weeks or so ,” says Ben Lloyd ,owner and president of Boston-based Pangea Shellfish Co.”It is only going to improve as we head into the fall .The product is growing ,and the water is warming “.Lloyd says pricing has remained steady with northeast growers fetching oyster ,with wild harvested product failling in the 50-to-54-cent range.Market prices vary up down the coast.
“We are harvesting 150 million dollars of clams and oysters “, adds Rheault.”About 55 % of that is clams ,and 45 % of that is oysters “.
You can read more about this movement on our next articles , here at http://foodandtraditions.com.