November 23, 2023

Many Thanksgiving and Christmas menus will include oysters. Oysters are critical to the seafood economy and history of the Eastern Shore.   Governor Youngkin has proclaimed November Oyster Month in Virginia.

Virginia is one of the Nation’s largest producers and the largest on the East Coast.  Virginia is also the East Coast’s number one oyster producers with an average dockside value for Virginia’s wild and farmed oysters annually around $40 million.

The Governor’s proclamation goes on to cite that oysters are a critical component of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem as an average adult oyster can purge 50 gallons or water a day.  Gardening and promulgation of oysters combined with the ongoing restoration projects on our wild public harvest areas , increases the overall number of shellfish that help clean the water and serve as habitat for other marine life.

Virginia is home to eight different regions of oysters, each with their own taste, history and heritage

History has shown that oysters were a vital food resource during the foundation of our nation by early north American settlers and their shells were used in building construction in Jamestown and other areas of Virginia including the Eastern Shore.

Oyster farming, also known as aquaculture, is a booming industry in Virginia, and is celebrated in numerous festivals, included in museums and served in a variety of styles in restaurants across the nation.

Chincoteague oysters are famous being harvested and marketed in the major cities of the northeast for over 200 years.

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