Oyster tasting is Saturday in Gloucester
If you like to eat fresh oysters just hours out of the Virginia waters of the Chesapeake Bay, don’t miss the Fourth Annual Virginia Half Shell Oyster Tasting set for Saturday, November 9, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Kelsick Specialty Market at 6632 Main Street, Gloucester Court House.
Six oyster growing companies will provide their very freshest oysters on the half shell. The event is sponsored by the nonprofit Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association to promote oyster aquaculture in the Chesapeake Bay area.
Tickets are a $30 donation with one non-oyster tasting guest allowed per ticket holder. Ticket-holders will taste four oysters from each grower, and may use their rating card to record their thoughts as to the aroma, saltiness and other taste qualities. Only 200 tickets are available for the tasting, which has sold out early at each of the last four tastings. Wine, beer, and other food will be available for purchase on site.
Virginia’s coastal waters include a range of salinities, from the briny Atlantic to the sweet water of the upper Chesapeake on the western shore, and all combinations between.
Participating commercial oyster growers for this year’s event are Chessie Seafood (York River), Chapel Creek Oyster Company (Piankatank River), Mobjack Seafood, (Mobjack Bay), Rappahannock River Oyster Company (Rappahannock River), Seaford Oyster Company (Poquoson River) and Shooting Star Oyster Company (Eastern Shore Atlantic Barrier Islands). The oysters from these various bodies of water will have substantially different tastes. Growers will have additional oysters for sale to take home and will take orders for oysters for future pickup.
Besides the delicious oysters, another highlight will be award-winning oyster shuckers Debra Pratt and her sister Clementine Macon demonstrating their remarkable skills of shucking oysters faster and cleaner than most people can eat them. Their entertaining and fun comments will keep the audience entertained and amused through the entire event.
Master Oyster Gardeners from the Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association will also be on hand to help anyone who has questions about growing their own oysters for personal consumption and to help clean the waters of the Bay. One adult oyster filters some 50 gallons of water per day!
Tickets are now on sale at Kelsick Specialty Market in Gloucester, Paypal through the Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association (TOGA) website, and by checks mailed to TOGA at P.O. Box 2463, Gloucester VA 23061. For mailed-in checks from attendees, tickets will be held at the registration table. Ticket sales will be cut off once the maximum numbers of tickets are sold.