Like sandy beaches and salty sea air, access to fresh oysters is just one of the many perks of coastal living. That’s why Long Beach Township is hosting its first-ever Long Beach Oyster Shellebration on October 6, as a tribute to the mighty mollusk and the role it plays in our local communities, from career path to cuisine staple.
“The Long Beach Oyster Shellebration is a celebration of the resurgence of the oyster industry in our local bays,” said Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini.
According to Angela Andersen, Long Beach Township Sustainability Coordinator, the idea to host an oyster celebration was rooted in the township’s desire to start a new oyster tradition for the LBI community. “It’s an opportunity for people to connect with the sustainable food they’re eating and promote stewardship of the Barnegat Bay area,” Andersen shared.
The event, which will take place in Bayview Park across from the recently upgraded town complex, will be sure to please oyster connoisseurs and first-time tasters alike. “Oysters are like wine grapes—they taste different depending on where they’re grown. Every oyster is different,” Andersen said.
After sampling a selection of fresh, locally-grown oysters from the Barnegat and Little Egg Harbor waters, wash it all down with a cold beer from one of the on-site beer trucks. Non-seafood fare will be available as well.
Oyster farmers will be on hand to educate attendees about their nearby farms and to showcase oyster farming practices, including a tonging demonstration—a decades-old technique for harvesting oysters. Then, roll up your sleeves and learn to shuck an oyster like a pro.
And after all those oysters are shucked? Their empty shells will be cured and used to raise more oysters, thanks to the Longbeach Township Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The township partners with Stockton University, Parsons Seafood and the Jetty Rock Foundation to collect oyster and clam shells from local restaurants with raw bars, which eventually make their way back into the oyster reef in Barnegat Bay. Proceeds from the Oyster Shellebration will benefit the recycling program (www.followtheshell.com).
So come one, come all, come hungry!