Oyster growers from Long Island are now part of the New York State “Grown & Certified” program, which promotes the state’s agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards.
Now, the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets is partnering with New York City restaurants on an oyster tasting promotion, highlighting the oyster industry and promoting the program’s food safety and environmental standards.
These oysters are “grown and harvested with care towards both food safety and the environment,” Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said in a statement.
To date, Long Island oyster producers include Aeros Cultured Oyster Co. in Southold, Blue Island Shellfish Farms in West Sayville, Eastern Bays Co. in Aquebogue, Fishers Island Oyster Farm on Fishers Island, Founders Oyster Farm in Southold, Great Gun Shellfish in East Moriches, Hampton Oyster Company in Laurel, Ketcham’s Seafarm in Patchogue, Little A’s Oysters in Ronkonkoma, Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market in Greenport, in Oysterponds Shellfish Co. in Orient, Southold Bay Oysters in Southold, in Thatch Island Oyster Farms in Amityville and Widow’s Hole Oyster Company in Greenport.
Restaurateurs give the program – and the oysters – high marks.
“Local and sustainable sourcing has been part of the fabric of Docks for more than 30 years,” said Stewart Rosen, owner of Docks Oyster Bar, in a statement. “We have direct relationships with some of Long Island’s premier oyster growers including Fishers Island, Blue Island and Peeko to name a few. Docks’ guests love the pristine freshness and delicious salinity unique to Long Island oysters.”
Bill Telepan, Oceana Restaurant’s executive chef said in a statement that “we should all be supporting local purveyors. At the restaurant, we receive oysters daily, and since the Long Island oysters are local, they come to us at their freshest. I also believe that New York State oysters – with their clean, briny flavor—are some of the best eating oysters around.”
These restaurants, along with Petite Crevette and Jolie Cantina, are identifying these oysters with the state’s Grown & Certified seal on their menu and displaying a window cling on their doors announcing their participation in the tastings and the certification program.
“Long Island’s oyster industry continues its trend of increased production of oysters as more and more individuals lease lands around Long Island through state and county leasing programs,” said Robert Carpenter, Long Island Farm Bureau’s administrative director.
The program, he added “will provide an excellent resource for growers to market their product and expand their industry by promoting fresh locally grown oysters to consumers and restaurants. We are excited for this great opportunity.”
To participate in the program, these producers must grow the oysters on land leased by the state, county or a municipality for the purposes of shellfish production. Oyster growing, in general, contributes to water quality, and lands devoted to their production provide many public benefits.
“Oyster farming in New York is in the midst of a renaissance that is revitalizing our local seafood industry,” said Charles Westfall, president of the Long Island Oyster Growers Association. Through the program, “New York will soon take its historic place as the country’s best and most abundant oyster.”