Impressive Oysters

May 31, 2017

To the Editor:

On May 18, I attended the 4th Annual Billion Oyster Party in New York City. This fundraising event supported the goal of restoring the New York Harbor ecosystem with 100 acres of oyster reefs and one billion oysters by 2030. It was also a destination food festival for the 1,200 attendees that featured 20 NYC restaurants, 50 oyster farms and an endless well of libations.

With a Brooklyn Brewery lager in hand, I bumped into Matt Gregg, the owner of Forty North Oysters, who wore a Barnegat Oyster Collective shirt. We exchanged greetings before I approached a table featuring perfectly shaped oysters on a bed of ice that were farmed off the shores of LBI.

As a master shellfish gardener and member of the Barnegat Bay Shellfish Restoration Program, my excitement grew as I placed a half dozen on my plate. The sounds of Barnegat Bay and images of Old Barney accompanied each succulent oyster that disappeared almost instantly. I surveyed the station for cocktail sauce. No, that would be sacrilege! I savored the next batch au naturel with their unique flavors of sweetness, saltiness and minerality.

I turned and scanned other stations that I visited with oysters harvested from California to Massachusetts. Then I smiled. My favorite oysters were from our local waters. Perhaps in the future Barnegat Bay will become a major destination for oyster farming as it follows in the path set by Matt Gregg. It was reassuring to know that I could enjoy his oysters at The Old Causeway, The Arlington, Delaware Avenue Oyster House and other restaurants on my return to Long Beach Island.

Richard Dodd

Beach Haven


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