Sunday, September 25, 2022

Looking to celebrate Virginia Oyster Month? James City County has some suggestions

Over 18,000 oysters were collected from volunteer oyster farmers in June. (Jordan Grice/ Southside Daily)
Over 18,000 oysters were collected from volunteer oyster farmers in June. (Jordan Grice/ Southside Daily)

One week after Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced November as Virginia Oyster Month, James City County is celebrating the various local restaurants that serve the popular seafood.

On Nov. 6, McAuliffe announced November will celebrate Virginia’s oyster harvest and the food’s positive economic impact, according to a governor’s office news release.

Those looking to dine on the new November delicacy in James City County can choose between fried oysters, oyster Po Boy sandwiches, steamed oysters and various other varieties at local restaurants, according to a release from the county.

“Virginia is a premier destination for oyster lovers to experience unique flavors, beautiful scenery, and wonderful pairings with our Virginia wine, craft beer, and cider,” McAuliffe said in the Nov. 6 release. ”Virginia is the Oyster Capital of the East Coast, so it’s easy to see why Virginia is for Oyster Lovers.”

There are many restaurants in James City County that serve oysters — making them a part of the celebration — including Guiseppe’s Italian Restaurant, Opus 9 Steakhouse, Paul’s Deli and Neighborhood Restaurant, The Whaling Company, Two Drummers Smokehouse, Uncle Russ’ Dockside Seafood Market, Bonefish Grill, Café Provençal, Center Street Grill, Corner Pocket, Craft 31, Carino’s Seafood, Center Street Grill, Carino’s Seafood, Bonefish Grill, Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant, Corner Pocket, and Skrimp Shack.

Virginia is home to eight oyster regions, each with distinct flavors and growth patterns, according to the governor’s office release.

The best time of the year for harvesting oysters in these regions is in November, which makes it the perfect month for celebrate them, McAuliffe said.

The agritourism industry is hoping to grow even more with this new initiative, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore said.

According to the governor’s office release, agritourism accounts for $2.2 billion in the Virginia economy.

The new focus on oysters in November will increase awareness about oysters’ vital environmental and economic contributions to the commonwealth. Another goal of the celebration is to bring more attention to the ways oysters benefit cultural and community developments, McAuliffe said.

“Virginia’s oysters are the most rapidly developing sector of Virginia’s shellfish aquaculture, and an important part of our diversified economy” said Basil Gooden, state secretary of agriculture and forestry. “Last year, Virginia sold more than 40 million oysters, which resulted in an $18.5 million economic impact for the Commonwealth.”

McAuliffe first announced the launch of the Virginia Oyster Trail in November of 2015. Since then, the Virginia Oyster Trail has been recognized by US Travel Association and also connects more than 100 sites across Coastal Virginia, the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and the Eastern Shore, according to the release.

The trail connects restaurants throughout Coastal Virginia through festivals and events during November, the release said

For more information about Virginia oysters, trip ideas, and oyster festivals around the Commonwealth, visit www.virginia.org/oysters.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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