By Mary Reid Barrow
Delicious Lynnhaven oysters, roasted and on the half shell, at LRNow’s oyster roast will have impeccable provenance.
We not only know that our oysters are grown in the Lynnhaven river, but we also know exactly whose oyster beds they are coming from, and we know the oystermen well.
You can dine on all-you-can-eat oysters with unimpeachable backgrounds at LRNow’s Oyster Roast, Saturday, May 6th. You also could be lucky enough to win our raffle for a catered oyster roast at your home, featuring those same delicious bivalves with the special flavor that always sets Lynnhaven oysters apart from others.
One of the early Lynnhaven oystermen, the late Irvin Evans, once said the difference between other oysters and Lynnhavens was like the difference between chalk and cheese.
Oysterman Chris Ludford, owner of Pleasure House Oysters, who is donating the Lynnhavens that will be the highlight of the oyster roast raffle, put more nuance on it.
“They are salty but not too salty, briny but sweet,” Chris said.
Part of those salty-sweet oysters for the roast will be donated by Cherrystone Aqua-Farms on the Eastern Shore and raised by Ned Harris, owner of Long Creek Oyster Company on the Lynnhaven. Ned, on the left, stepped in to help out with the shucking at last year’s LRNow roast.
Brothers, Bruce, Craig, and Bay McLaughlin, owners of First Landing Seafood Company in Broad Bay are donating the rest.
Not only are Chris, Ned, and the McLaughlin brothers good friends of LRNow, but they also are good friends to the Lynnhaven, raising their oysters in a sustainable way that keeps our river healthy and allows the wild oysters to grow.
The tides bring Chesapeake Bay and salty ocean waters directly into the Lynnhaven River twice a day to give its oysters infusions of the freshest water around. It’s as if the oysters grow bigger and tastier with each rise and fall of the tide.
“It’s the tidal push,” Ned said. “And the salinity is just about right!”
The McLaughlin’s have dubbed their aqua-cultured oysters, “Lynnhaven Fancies,” an homage to the name given to oysters of a certain size back in the old days when Lynnhavens were known up and down the East Coast.
“Lynnhaven Fancies taste absolutely amazing!” Bruce said. “There’s a noticeable salt start when you first put the oyster in your mouth. But unlike oysters that are overwhelmed with saltiness, the Fancies also have an earthy, sweet, creamy buttery finish.”
If you need more to put you in the mood to get those tickets for LRNow’s oyster roast feast, check out this video that Virginia Public Media produced about Chris Ludford and his oysters this spring.
Get your tickets here:
Find out more about First Landing Seafood and where to buy their oysters: https://firstlandingseafood.com/oysters
Find out about Pleasure House Oyster farm tours and excursions, as well as restaurants that serve Pleasure House Oysters here: https://pleasurehouseoysters.com/tours/