Skip to main content
The Spin

The Spin: All about the almighty oyster

Oysters, no matter how you shuck ‘em, sure are sexy. And now they have been vindicated as truly being an aphrodisiac. Casanova, who consumed 50 oysters for breakfast, knew exactly what he was doing. Let’s leave it at that.

Fact: Greenport was once considered the Oyster Capital of New York.

Myth: Only eat Oysters in months that contain an R.

The “r” month is mostly a fairy tale nowadays because there are so many different oyster varieties available now in the United States and Canada. When one oyster spawns there are plenty of other ones that aren’t spawning.

I spoke with a couple of Oyster faring chaps, one of which was the former owner of Long Island Oyster Farms, located in East Marion, Robert Ferretti, currently, a CPA extraordinaire.

He explained a bit about the spawning phase of the Oyster:

Under natural conditions, oysters spawn as water temperatures rise in the spring. The temperature at which spawning occurs varies from north to south. Northern oysters spawn at temperatures between 60 and 68 degrees, while southern oysters spawn at temperatures above 68 degrees.
The females spawn and the males fertilize the eggs. They take 2 weeks to set. Each oyster can spawn about 1 million larvae.

Once the oysters have spawned, they swim for 2 weeks and flow on a hard surface to form a shell. The process that occurs after that is called metamorphosis. They need to be moved 2 more times, a year apart. The entire process takes approximately 3 years.

In 1980, Long Island oyster farms leased approximately 100,000 acres of underwater grounds in Connecticut and 100,000 in New York (perpetual leases) and sales were approximately $5 million worth of oysters (30 million oysters a year) clam sales were approximately $1 million a year (approximately 100k clams) but that’s another story!

In 1985, brown tide killed almost all the known oysters within a two-week period.

Brown Tide is very real and is currently being monitored locally.

Now Oysters are back with a vengeance! Below are some local Oyster companies. Cornell Cooperative Extension offers a great program in which you can learn to culture, plant and monitor seed oysters, clams and scallops in your own shellfish “garden.”

Local Oyster Companies:

Widows Hole

Little Creek Oyster Farm


Gotta run, I’ve got a dozen on the half shell with my name all over ’em!