Not to sound like a sponsored post (because it isn't) but being the tail end of Earth Day-Week, I thought to reiterate what CNN was saying about how great oysters are. Not only are they great to eat, but when you farm them instead of just overfishing their natural habitat, they work as filters for pollution in the river. The cable news network highlighted a fisherman by the name of Tommy Leggett from the Chesapeake Bay who does exactly that.
It's a winning situation all around. Restaurants get the best product, Leggett is able to farm the river with consistency and the ecosystem improves from the restoration of oysters in the river. While this may be a success story in Virginia, it is also happening here in New York City. Restoration projects are under way, and who knows, one day the water in the harbor may once again be considered safe as it was 400 years ago.
"I've been a waterman for over 20 years," he says.
The difference now is Leggett doesn't fish anymore. He's an eco-conscious farmer and advocate who works on his sustainable oyster farm in the James River. He uses the term "aquaculture" to describe what he's doing here. "It refers to the husbandry, or farming, of aquatic species."
Leggett sells the oysters he harvests to local restaurants, growing about 100,000 a year as a part-time business.He makes sure he always has a product to replace the ones that he sells. He shares his expertise with other watermen, educating them about oyster aquaculture and the importance of sustainability.
Leggett also sells his fresh products to the area market. "Customers want to know if the oysters they are buying are local, which means they're fresher and taste better."