Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 38

Flavorful White Stone
oysters, farmed on the
Chesapeake Bay, are
occasionally available
at BeetleCat in Atlanta.

On the half shell
JANE F. GARVEY

Oysters are making a comeback
in Georgia
BY JANE F. GARVEY

38

JANE F. GARVEY

A

s essayist Jonathan Swift famously
noted: "He was a bold man that
first ate an oyster."
If archaeological evidence can be
believed, that first man slurped that
first oyster a very long time ago, and
many more humans followed suit.
Pre-European New World denizens
consumed oysters by the ton-literally. The island that today is Manhattan was rife with middens, which are
large expanses of discarded oyster
shells. And these oysters were very
large, according to contemporary accounts and archaeological evidence.
Early in the 20th century, Georgia
led the nation in oyster production,
says Emily Woodward, public relations coordinator with the University
of Georgia (UGA) Marine Extension
and Georgia Sea Grant. But as the
century progressed, oysters declined
in popularity as well as in availability
because of overharvesting, and Georgia's last coastal oyster houses closed
in the 1960s.
Today, oysters are back with a
vengeance. And in response to renewed demand, the UGA Marine
Extension and Georgia Sea Grant
opened the state's first oyster hatchery in 2015, restoring oyster produc-

Oysters with Champagne "Avgolemono" and caviar at Kyma in Atlanta

tion to the Georgia coast.
When the hatchery gets into
full swing, the goal is to produce
15 million spat, or oyster seed, annually. Last year, the hatchery produced
between 500,000 and 750,000 spat,
which go to 10 oyster growers on
the coast after the seed reach a determined size. Growers then raise the
spat to full market size in leases that
are managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Coastal
Resources Division.
One of these growers is Karen
Sharpe. She and her husband, Richard
Roberts, own Whitehouse Seafood, a
retail seafood shop on Harriets Bluff
Road in Woodbine. They farm their
allotment of spat in Crooked River,
where, she says, they operate a wild
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org

harvest lease.
It's a backbreaking job, she admits, but her motivation is more than
commercial.
"We feel like we're tending the
oyster garden," she says. "We don't
rake or use tools. We pick them one
at a time. Small ones get put back. It
takes time to keep quality."
She says their environment yields
a consistent product, too. "Georgia
oysters from Crooked River never
change."
The Sharpe-Roberts oysters were
offered at a Georgia Grown reception held at the Savannah Food &
Wine Festival in November 2015. The
oysters had a pleasing salinity and
minerality along with a sweet, meaty
fleshiness.
GEORGIA MAGAZINE


http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - October 2017

Contents
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 3
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 5
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 6
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 7
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 8
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 9
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 10
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 11
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 12
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 13
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 14
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 15
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 16
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 17
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 18
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 19
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 20
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 21
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 22
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 23
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 24
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 25
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 26
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 27
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 28
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 29
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 30
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 31
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 32
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 33
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 34
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 34A
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 34B
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 34C
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 34D
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 35
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 36
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 37
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 38
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 39
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 40
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 40A
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 40B
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 40C
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 40D
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 41
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 42
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 42A
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 42B
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - Cover4
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