November is Virginia Oyster Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia. During the month of November, officials are inviting visitors and Virginians to experience fresh wild-caught and farm-raised oysters from Virginia’s eight different oyster regions, as well as participate in the numerous oyster festivals and events across the state.
A key element of Oyster Month is the Virginia Oyster Trail, which links local attractions in eight oyster regions across Virginia.
“Virginia is the Oyster Capital of the East Coast, boasting eight regions that each produce oysters with distinct and unique flavors based on the water in which they grow,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Oysters are a vital component to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and to Virginia, as they naturally clean the Chesapeake Bay and attract visitors from all over the world to the region. From the Urbanna Oyster Festival in the Middle Peninsula to the Merroir Terroir on the Eastern Shore, I encourage Virginians and visitors to explore the countless activities and attractions along Virginia’s Oyster Trail this November and discover why Virginia is for Oyster Lovers.”
Virginia oysters and the watermen who grow them hold a distinguished place in the Commonwealth’s rich coastal heritage and history. During John Smith’s travels to the Americas, he noted in his diary that oysters “lay as thick as stones” on the beds of the Chesapeake Bay.
Virginia is now the number one producer of aquaculture oysters and clams, and all seafood, on the East Coast.
Oyster tourism has become an important economic asset for the Commonwealth. In November 2015, Governor McAuliffe announced the launch of the Virginia Oyster Trail, a major tourism development project connecting travelers to Virginia oyster purveyors, raw bars and restaurants, artisans, and seafood culture throughout Coastal Virginia, the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, and the Eastern Shore.
As a result, Virginia has staked a claim as a top oyster destination in the country. Virginia’s share of voice in the oyster sphere—59 percent of the conversation on social media and in the news—dramatically outpaces competitor states, with New York trailing in second place at 17 percent.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation also recently won a prestigious national award from U.S. Travel Association for its work promoting Virginia oysters and the Virginia Oyster Trail.
For more information, visit www.virginia.org/oysters.
source: Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Governor