The Napa Valley of Oysters
In the last couple of years during my family visits along the Chesapeake I’ve bumped into Rappahannock River Oysters on more than a couple of menus. Not being very educated, I wondered aloud about Virginia’s oyster provenance. Ever the oyster fiend, I tried them and did the oyster swoon.
I didn’t know the story behind Rappahannock’s until now. Seems cousins Ryan and Travis Croxton revived a long-held 100 hundred year-old family business that their own fathers were discouraged from entering due to the near-destruction of the fishery. Now, using aquaculture, Rappahannock River Oysters are sustainably producing four kinds of oyster: Rappahannocks, Stingrays, Snow Hills, and Olde Salts. Boldly taking them to the #1 restaurant in America, Le Bernadin, the oysters have found glowing, loyal fans in some of the nations top chefs. It doesn’t hurt either that the oysters are literally cleaning the Chesapeake’s waters. A mature oyster can filter up to 60 gallons of water a day and at one time, when the bay was clean and several oyster brands worked it, you could see clear 60′ to the bottom.
Postscript: I’m hearing good things about the emerging War Shore Oyster Company too…I’ll have to try them soon.