With the “Octoberfest” season on the horizon, we started researching different beer festivals to attend over the next couple of months. After marking our calendars for Pocomoketoberfest on September 6 and Salisbury’s Good Beer Festival on October 11 and 12, we found a Western Shore festival selling an Eastern Shore treat! Maryland’s Brewer’s Harvest in Baltimore will be serving up a bite from home with a Choptank Sweets oyster bar from the Choptank Oyster Company.
Now, we admittedly have an obsession with these shellfish, but the only thing that could make any oyster better is if it was pulled from a local waterway. These Kent County natives fulfil our local preferences by harvesting their oysters strait from a Chesapeake tributary. But these aren’t any ordinary sea creatures that land on your plate, the Choptank Oyster Company reaps the bounty of the Bay in an eco-friendly, innovative style.
By using aquaculture techniques, the “Choptank Sweets” grow in non-traditional ways that create a unique mollusk. The Choptank Oyster Company’s oysters do not grow on the bottom of the river, but just below the water’s surface. This location removes much of the irritating sand and grit from the shellfish and provides an increased amount of algae for the oysters to feed on (no scrawny oysters here.) Because the sea creatures float on rafts, they are periodically removed from the water so that their shells can be cleaned of any barnacles or mussels, creating a prettier and healthier mollusk. The Choptank Oyster Company also ensures that the aquatic habitat is pristine through weekly water quality tests in addition to checks by the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Of course it is the oysters themselves that provide such a vital role to the ecosystem. That’s why the company only grows the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) that is native to the Bay so that they do not introduce any foreign species to the Chesapeake. Also, every year one to two million Choptank Sweet oysters are consumed, but before they land on your plate, they have filtered gallons of waters and spawned, contributing baby oysters to continue cleaning the Bay.
When we make our trip across the bridge to the Maryland’s Brewer’s Harvest in Baltimore, we will make sure to stop at the Eastern Shore breweries and get samples from Fin City Brewing Company, Backshore Brewing Company, Burley Oak, OC Brewing and Evo. But first, we will be running to the front of the line of the Choptank Sweets Oyster bar.