What is oystering and how are oysters harvested? Oystering refers to the practice of harvesting oysters from their natural habitats, typically in estuaries, bays, or coastal waters. Oysters are a type of shellfish that are highly prized for their delicate and unique taste, as well as their nutritional value. Did you know that connoisseurs can tell the harvest area just by tasting?
Oystering involves several steps, including locating oyster beds, removing the oysters from their shells, and processing them for consumption. Oysters can be harvested by hand, using specialized tools like tongs, or by dredging, which involves using a motorized device to scrape the oysters from the seabed. Did you know that Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar has its own reefs in our own Galveston Bay, that we protect, shell, and harvest?
The practice of oystering has a long history and is an important part of the cultural and economic heritage of many coastal communities around the world. However, over-harvesting and pollution have led to declines in wild oyster populations, and many oyster farms now use sustainable practices to ensure the long-term viability of the industry. Tommy’s gives back to the community in so many ways, one being shell management. Tommy’s washes and relocates oyster shells from the seafood restaurant in Clear Lake, and moves them to our owner’s own land, where they are laid out to be dried by the sun. Once dried, the oyster shells are placed in a mesh bag and returned to the Bay for spat attachment. It’s absolutely fascinating to learn about Tommy’s Galveston Bay conservation efforts.
Today, oysters are a popular delicacy and are enjoyed raw, cooked, or used in a variety of dishes, such as stews, soups, and sushi. They are also known for their nutritional benefits, as they are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. To enjoy a little bit of it all, try the Tommy’s Trio – cooked oysters with different toppings, alongside a half-dozen or so raw oysters, served on a bed of ice with lemons, for optimum taste.
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In 2011, the Galveston Bay Foundation partnered with Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Clear Lake to begin recycling oyster shell from the restaurant to be used in restoration projects in Galveston Bay.