Oyster Season – Latest Update (Plus Tips on Harvesting and Hosting) – The Retired Mensch

By Paul Brustowicz - The Retired Mensch
By Paul Brustowicz – The Retired Mensch

So, where was I? Oh yes, oyster versus erster…Here’s the latest:

November 3, 2015
DHEC closes some Charleston County shellfish beds

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has closed some shellfish harvesting beds in Charleston County due to excessive rainfall, the agency announced today.

“This closure affects shellfish harvesting from Captain Sams Inlet north to Garrison Landing and the north point of Bull Island,” said Mike Pearson, manager of DHEC’s Shellfish Sanitation Section. “The affected area will reopen once water quality data indicate that bacteria levels are once again suitable for shellfish harvesting. Previous closures in the Wando River remain in effect.”

For more information on clam and oyster harvesting areas in Charleston County, call DHEC’s Charleston Environmental Health Services Office at (843) 953-0160.

Jim Beasley
Public Information Director
oystersWell, I hope you liked Fred and Ginger dancing on roller skates. Back to oysters and oyster roasts. Why roast them and not boil the little buggers? Here in Low Country the oysters grow in clusters, clumped together. Remember those sticks in the mud where the oysters grow? Despite the washing by your friendly oysterman in the oyster tumbler pictured here, there is still plenty of grit and crud on those bivalves.

If you choose boiling, or berling as my Brooklyn grandma used to say, to bring about the demise of your oysters, the shells will open in the crud-laden water and those formerly tasty morsels of molluscan delight will now be as gritty as #2 sandpaper. That’s why they roast oyster clusters. Okay, now that your oysters are roasted, what do you do?

First of all, stand back because someone will shovel them onto your table and there will be a mild stampede to grab those hot bivalves.

Here is where I admit ignorance. Being new to South Carolina and oyster roasts, I had to seek out the advice of a son of the low country and oyster roast aficionado. While I’m talking to A. Aficionado, here’s video from PBS about oyster harvesting.

This selection offers information on how to host a lowcountry oyster roast:

If you get invited to an oyster roast, remember to bring gloves, oyster knife, hand sanitizer and plenty of of your preferred adult beverage with beer being the beverage of choice.
Happy bivalve season!