Key Ingredient

Five Ways to Celebrate Oyster Season

By: Erin Byers Murray

Although the powers that create so-called food holidays pin National Oyster Day in August, to us, oyster season officially kicks off in mid-October. Most oyster harvesting in the South opens around October 15, which is when the water temperatures cool down and oysters start to reach their plump zenith, their bellies and meat swelling up with nutrients as they prepare for the oncoming winter. Now is the time to plan your oyster roasts or load up on dozens for a platter of half shells to shuck before the holiday feast—and we’ve got a few more luminescent ways to take it all in this season.

Get into Oyster Season

 Experience the Oyster's Logo
Image courtesy of Experience the Oyster

Experience the Oyster

Along the coast of Alabama, Murder Point Oyster Company (@murderpointoysterco) is kicking off oyster season by throwing its first oyster tasting experience in Gulf Shores at The Hang Out, on November 19. 10 farms from across the South will shuck upwards of 16,000 oysters for an intimate group of about 500 (there’s also a VIP experience). Look for a dozen or more chefs from around the Southeast, live music, and art vendors, too. Grab tickets here.

Honor’s Best: Journey of an Oyster Shucking Champion

Oyster shucking competitions are no joke—lightning fast blades; razor-sharp shells; endless pursuit of the perfect shuck. Just ask the world’s youngest champion shucker, Honor Allen. Having grown up shucking oysters at Panama Beach, Florida’s Hunt’s Oyster Bar, Allen spent three years on the international shucking competition circuit before heading back home and settling in at a Gulf Coast oyster farm. This new documentary outlines his journey; find it on Prime Video, Google Play, and Apple TV.

Two hands holding many tiny oysters at Oyster South, a festival at the beginning of Oyster Season to celebrate sustainability
Image courtesy of Oyster South

Get to Know Oyster South 

Tickets for Atlanta’s all-things-oyster celebration Landlocked sold out instantaneously this year—but it’s not too late to get to know the nonprofit behind it. Oyster South brings together farmers, chefs, shuckers, seafood dealers, media, and everyday eaters to learn about the ecosystem of Southern oysters. Keep an eye out for their Spring 2023 Symposium, set to take place in Savannah, Georgia.

Shuck Your Own Oysters

Virginia-based Rappahannock Oyster Co. ships their hand-raised oysters directly to you—and, with a click to the Local Palate Marketplace, you can pick up a starter pack, complete with oysters, shucking knife, glove, cocktail sauce, and more, for $150—because there’s no better way to kick off the season than with a few dozen half shells enjoyed at home.

Image by Jennifer Armstrong

Recipes to Celebrate Oyster Season at Home

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Fried Oyster Deviled Eggs

Celebrate oyster season with fried oysters over salad

Crispy Oyster Salad

Welcome oyster season with baked Rappahannock oysters on the half shell over rock salt

Baked Rappahannock River Oysters

Oysters from Ford Fry at the Optimist
Photo courtesy of The Optimist

Oysters with Apple Mignonette and Whipped Celery Root

Fried oyster taco with fennel slaw and chipotle cream

Fried Oyster Taco with Fennel Slaw and Chipotle Crema

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