Eat more oysters - it helps the environment
What better way to raise awareness of how to protect the Great South Bay than to have an oyster festival. Once again hosted by Blue Island Oysters and Operation Blue Earth, the 2019 Blue Island Oyster Festival did not disappoint. There were oysters aplenty, freshly shucked by crews of dedicated oyster farmers from as far as Prince Edward Island and Deep Bay, B.C. in Canada, to Duxbury and Wellfleet Harbor in Massachusetts and, of course, locally from our own Great South Bay, Moriches Bay, Long Island Sound, Hog Neck Bay and Orient Point.
If all 500 attendees ate at least two oysters each from all of the participating establishments, it would total approximately 20,000 oysters on the half-shell served with lemon and cocktail sauce. An oyster lover’s paradise! As if that wasn't enough delectable seafood, there were countless local restaurants serving their mouthwatering delicacies.
So, what makes a perfect oyster? According to Chris Quartuccio of Blue Island Oysters, favorable qualities include "a thick shell, a full piece of meat that is firm and grown close to an inlet, so they will have a high salt content.”
"Like everything else, location, location, location!" Fire Island Blue Oysters owners Chuck Westfall and Sean O'Brien said. Their oysters, high in salinity, are harvested twice a week at the Fire Island Inlet Bridge.
As if that wasn't enough deliciousness, guests tasted their way through Claws of West Sayville's giant shrimp scampi, baked clams by Catch Oyster Bar in Patchogue, and South Shore Dive's famous mac and cheese, to name a few. Leslie Gilliams of “Master Chef” Season 5 and Lisa-Ann Marchesi of Season 7 did a meet and greet with everyone, also showcasing their product lines.
To round out the day's festivities, there were three bands, including local favorite Soundswell. As everyone danced and ate under blue skies on an amazing late-summer day, Blue Point beer was served on tap and Proud Pour Wines offered a pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. Utilizing a plastic alternative, refillable boxed-water containers were given out and fresh drinking water was supplied to all who attended. The Blue Island Hatchery gave informative tours of their hatchery so all could see just where the magic of oyster farming begins.
To become involved in saving the Great South Bay and to learn more about the Blue Island Foundation, you can contact them at info@BlueIslandOysterFoundation.com.
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