Capers Blades “singles on a half shell” oysters grown by farmer Dave Belanger (aka Clammer Dave) in Capers Inlet, S.C.
Oysters are the sea’s version of fine wine: Their taste varies with the water they grow in. And slow-growing oysters from northern waters — like the briny Wellfleets of Massachusetts and the sweet, mild Kumamotos of the Pacific Northwest — are among the most coveted.
That may be changing now. An oyster renaissance in the Southeastern U.S. is underway — from Virginia all the way down to Florida’s Apalachicola Bay. The region is adopting the aquaculture that restored a decimated oyster industry in the north, and it has led to a huge boost in oyster production.
“The oyster industry is now casting its eye down the Southeast coast and seeing paradise,” says Rowan Jacobsen, author of The Essential Oyster: A Salty Appreciation of Taste And Temptation to be published in October. “More than 6,000 miles of shoreline unmarred by a single metropolis and all ripe for growing oysters.”
Americans already eat roughly 2.5 billion oysters every year, according to the Oyster Recovery Partnership. Around 85 percent of those oysters are from the Atlantic coast, and…