If you like oysters, you’re in luck.
This year, reports are that the bivalves are plentiful, healthy and available.
Yesterday, Bay Journal photographer Dave Harp and I drove down to the Nanticoke for a story on oysters and encountered several guys coming in for the day. Most had caught their limit of 12 bushels per man, or 24 per boat.
They looked happy about it, and with good reason: The price this year is $34 a bushel. Last year, it was $29. Most years, it’s around $30.
The season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is prime oyster time. Chefs in the region are baking oysters in casseroles, stirring them in stews and roasting them on open fires. You can harvest an oyster at three inches, but some of the ones we saw yesterday were huge - one was almost six inches.
Of course, oysters are available all year now, thanks to our aquaculture industry that produces product during the summer. But there are those Chesapeake Bay residents who still like to eat oysters only in the R months of the winter fishery.
If that includes you, check out your local restaurants. From what we saw on the boat yesterday, you will not be disappointed.
A side note about the Nanticoke: This river was one of the only places in Maryland where oystermen could hold leases until the state changed its leasing law in 2009. It's long been considered a fantastic place to oyster - the town of bivalve is nearby - and this time of year the harbor is filled with boats from Rock Hall and Tilghman who have caught their limits up there.