You Can Eat Oysters in August and Other Things to Know on National Oyster Day

Raise your hand if you’ve heard, “You only eat oysters in months with an ‘R’ in it.” The truth is nowadays you can safely eat an oyster safely in any month. The R thing is a fallacy that goes back to ancient Rome,” area oyster expert Daniel Lewis said. “The whole R thing goes back to before there was refrigeration.” Lewis’s Coastal Provisions Market had become the area oyster scene hub until it closed due to economic uncertainties triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Lewis is still a part-owner of Craving’s in Duck and is the current Outer Banks Restaurant Association President.

There are five different species of edible oysters, but almost all East Coast oysters are the Crassostrea Viginica variety. The flavor is derived from the waters they inhabit. An oyster needs a salinity level of between 13 parts per 1000 and 30 parts per 1000.  The oysters which come from lower salinity levels are considered to be creamier and are preferred for cooking, while the saltier oysters make for better freshly shucked dining.

Farm raised oysters offer several advantages. “They’re available year round,” Lewis said. “They’re sustainable and have a constant size, a wild oyster can lose body mass when spawning.” Pamlico Salts, Hatteras Salts, Savage Inlet, Devil Shoal, and Currituck Salts are samples of Outer Banks area oyster brands ready to be enjoyed. The Currituck Salts are actually raised in Hyde County. There’s a Currituck Township in Hyde County.