I know the Oyster Festival is in July, but are oysters in season year round? We plan to visit in February 2018.
I would never eat Oysters in the summer. Just use the reverse of the Northern hemisphere Dictum "Only eat oysters if there's an R in the month" - otherwise they are spawning, milky and don't taste of the fresh sea. Maybe add a month at either end, so Oyster Season here is say April - September. There are sometimes Oysters available outside these months but these are either imported from the Northern Hemisphere or are artificially raised in cold water tanks. Certainly not "Fresh out of the sea" Local Oysters!Edited: 16 March 2017, 07:21
Thanks for that info!!
I thought those myths died years ago. It's not spawning season, it's a bacteria that makes raw oysters unsafe to eat from warm water, though the bacteria is present year round. Many in vulnerable populations should avoid eating raw shellfish year round. Just eat them fully cooked and you'll be fine. (Only female oysters spawn and they spawn for a short time depending on water temperature. So few will be spawning in any specific summer month). Most oysters available in the eastern US (Bluepoints is the common name even though the Bluepoints Co closed years ago) are raised or farmed in open water. They are yummy and I eat them year round, raw and cooked, depending on when/where they were caught (info is on the wholesale tag required to be available to consumers in the US). While on vacation I only eat them cooked because I prefer not to take the minor risk while away.
I am not particularly saying that oysters in the summer are unsafe - although battery farming does promote the spread of bacterial infections in the summer. My point is, they just don't taste and look as good.
As they say, "It Takes Two to Tango"! The male oysters produce sperm during the summer breeding season - which IMO is even more off-putting to the taste, appearance and texture of the oyster.
Although in the US I believe now most of their production is "sexless" oysters. More precisely I think, de-sexed diploids - can't be much fun for the oyster! Maybe that is why I personally find that oysters in the US are often fat, flabby and rather tasteless. Here in South Africa they have fun, are kept fit by an active sex life which stops them getting flabby and flacid when the winter comes and concentrates the wonderful flavour - lol!
Interesting that in France - who I still think produces the world's best oysters - they consume over 80 percent of their large annual production of oysters in their mid-winter months of December and January. Virtually every single restaurant has an ice loaded oyster table on the pavement outside. If you asked for oysters in a good Parisian restaurant in mid-summer you would be looked at as extremely odd - or American!
BTW the great majority of oysters in South Africa come from the West Coast in the colder waters of the Atlantic - especially round Saldanha Bay, north of Cape Town. Knysna, on the warmer Indian Ocean, these days has a very small production from the shallow lagoon. However there is one place in the area that I have had really good wild oysters fresh from the sea. Oysters R Us (I know cheesy!) in the sand dunes off the N2 between Wilderness and Sedgefield, just before you get to Knysna. Basically an old farm tin-shed. They have cold water tank oysters in the summer that you get live from flowing water. But in the winter months they also have locally gathered Wild Oysters from the open water rocky coast - not farmed. More expensive but certainly worth searching out.Edited: 17 March 2017, 06:33
Whoops! Too late to edit. Typing doesn't work when I'm thinking about sex! Sterile oysters are Triploids. Sexy Oysters are Diploids!
Didn't mean to start Oyster wars!!