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calendar   Thursday - July 30, 2020

A problem I can solve

With Restaurants Closed, Oyster Farmers Overstocked

With restaurants serving a limited number of diners and relying primarily on take-out in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, oyster farmers are left with more supply than demand as sales remain sluggish ahead of prime oyster-eating season this fall.
...
Growing oysters is time-sensitive, and if they’re kept growing in their cages for too long they’ll get too big to sell.

With fewer restaurants buying oysters as a result of less foot traffic, oyster farmers are left with shellfish surplus.

“What’s going to hurt the oyster farmers is the size. When they get too big, nobody wants them—you have a window because the water is so warm they’re growing so quickly,” said Logan Clarke, founder of The Lobster Trap, a Cape Cod, Massachusetts-based wholesale seafood distributor.

Now, oystermen like Bloom are left with excessive amounts of the mollusks with a limited shelf life. He says he’s selling them directly to consumers to avoid letting them go to waste.

1. The oysters get too large? Oh give me a break. “Waiter, take these back. These oysters are too big, we can’t possibly finish a dozen of them, at a whole tablespoon of mushy goop per oyster.” said no oyster loving customer ever.

2. Drop the price and flood the market. If you could go to a restaurant around here, oysters would cost you $3 - $4 each, depending on which snooty-toot variety you get. Frankly, the varieties from the Pacific northwest are much better than the Atlantic ones. Oooh, plus that hard to find kind from the panhandle down in Florida. Heaven on the halfshell.

3. Hello Campbell’s, Bookbinder’s, and Progresso? Boy have we got a soup deal for you!!

4. Dear oyster guy: send them my way. I will happily eat several dozen a day, even if they’re “extra large”.

5. Move your racks to deeper cooler water. They’ll grow slower. Duh.

6. Sell them to the government as part of the Green Nude Eel program, as oysters clean the ocean water simply by eating, and they also remove CO2 by growing their shells. Restock the bays up and down the coast. Win win, where’s my check?

Unlike cattle or hogs, which need constant expensive care and feeding, oysters sit in the water and take care of things themselves. Oysters can live for decades. Do you think the indigenous natives rejected some oysters because they were too big? Let’s see, twice the food for the same amount of effort opening the shell. Um, nope!

The wholesale price hasn’t dropped, with oysters around 60 cents each, Bloom noted. But even when restaurants are able to reopen, many of them will be ordering a fraction of what their original menus called for. New York City’s Grand Central Oyster Bar inside Grand Central Terminal has been closed since March with indoor dining suspended indefinitely. During normal times, the iconic seafood restaurant was selling up to 5,000 oysters on the half shell per day, not including cooked oysters.

So there hasn’t even been a price drop yet at their end. And the season isn’t even here yet, and who knows what kind of magical reopening we’ll have then. But they wouldn’t be farmers if they weren’t complaining. It’s the law, I swear.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/30/2020 at 08:31 AM   
Filed Under: • EconomicsFine-DiningFood •  
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