The “R” Myth

Chances are, if you’re an oyster fan, especially in the warmer Southern climate, you’ve heard of the “R” rule when it comes to consumption of raw oysters. This “rule” suggests that raw oysters should not be consumed in months that do not end with the letter R–explicitly May through August. Did you know that this is actually an extremely dated rule of thumb? You can read here how it was debunked by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1964.

Most people maintain the fear of Vibrio vulnificus, which can cause sickness when a person is exposed to contaminated seafood. The common misconception with the “R” myth is that during the warmer months raw oysters are more subject to spoiling more easily in the heat of the warmer days. While this pathogen can indeed cause sickness, incidences of illness are very carefully monitored by the USDA and not very prevalent.2016-03-01_0001

Another reason behind the “R” myth is that during these months not ending in “R” wild oysters had time to repopulate. This means that during these warmer months it was understood that oysters were spawning. The truth is, spawning oysters are not actually harmful to eat, they just are not particularly tasty.

As oyster aficionado Julie Qiu puts it,”The R rule once helped to give wild oysters time to repopulate. But these days, many varieties have instead been bred to not spawn at all, allowing them to be harvested and consumed year-round.”

So, there you have it. If you have a craving for oysters in the summer, my friends, we aren’t telling you to avoid your tummy!

 

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Kicking off “Oyster Season” Right!

The Oyster Bed opened up October 2015 with visits to a couple of New Orleans based organizations we love:  The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) and The Gambit.   Check out the beautiful spread at a special CRCL dinner featuring The Oyster Bed front and center with some wonderful crabmeat and avocado appetizers!

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In keeping with the great relationship we’ve established with The Gambit, we supported their “Red, White, and Blues” event with some Oyster Bed products that became some of the most coveted silent auction items – demonstrating that The Oyster Bed is part of “The Best of New Orleans!”

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We also participated in one of the best festivals in the state of Louisiana – the Wooden Boat Festival in Madisonville.  With unbelievable weather and great festival goers, we sold out of all of our inventory by early Sunday morning!  We were even able to set up a spot for Saints fans to watch the game under the live oaks behind our booth!


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On 13 October, The Oyster Bed was invited out to the Houmas House Plantation to take part in a really special event named “NOLA’s Backyard.”  This event was created and organized by former Food Arts publisher Barbara Mathias and executive editor Beverly Stephen in partnership with chef John Folse and Michaela York, vice president marketing, Chef John Folse & Company.

The event offered corporate and celebrity chefs from around the nation a chance to immerse in the history, culture and gastronomy of the region, while visiting working Plantations, producers, processors, chefs and fishermen.  We were absolutely privileged to be part of this event!

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The Oyster Bed wrapped up October with some outstanding new opportunities in the great state of Texas!   Having been invited to cook on KHOU Channel 11’s “Great Day Houston” morning show, Tommy linked up with one of the Gulf Coast’s largest oyster companies:  Prestige Oysters.  

Not only did Prestige’s second generation owner – Raz Halili – show up with some fabulous oysters, he was key to making the show a success.  Indeed, it was a surprise to the Waller brothers to learn that Prestige now owns and operates a state of the art high pressure processing (HPP) oyster facility in Amite, Louisiana – just a few miles from the home of The Oyster Bed and home of the annual Oyster Festival!

Watch the segment at the link below to learn more about Prestige, HPP oysters, and how Raz and Tommy helped educate Houston viewers on the value of the oyster to our coastal estuaries!

http://www.khou.com/story/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-houston/2015/10/29/oyster-bed/74799122/

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After feeding some of KHOU’s wonderful staff with chargrilled oysters, “jacked up shrimp,” and some fabulous “breakfast bites”, Tommy went on to pay a visit to an awesome new oyster bar and restaurant in Spring Texas, just north of Houston:   Bleu Oyster Bar and Seafood Restaurant.

Located at 9305 Spring Cypress Rd #101, Spring, TX 77379, this brand new establishment opened its doors this past Saturday (31 October) and its most popular dish of the day was none other than charbroiled oysters on The Oyster Bed!

Bleu Oyster Bar features not only chargrilled oysters (and other dishes served on The Oyster Bed) but also six different varieties of raw oysters (Tommy’s favorite).   Check out these photos taken just a few days before the grand opening and this awesome menu!

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While Bleu Oyster Bar is a brand new and promising establishment, it is not the only Houston-based restaurant to adopt The Oyster Bed!   During the month of October, the well-known restaurant Willie G’s also began using The Oyster Bed.  One of the Landry’s Select Club restaurants, Willie G’s use of The Oyster Bed represents significant potential for many more chefs around the country to “cultivate creative cooking” and many seafood lovers around the country to learn all about how The Oyster Bed helps preserve our nation’s estuaries!

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Tell the chef at your favorite seafood restaurant all about The Oyster Bed if you’d like to help continue this effort to re-shape tables and coastlines, across America….one Oyster Bed at a time!

The Oyster: A Louisiana Gem

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Oyster’s can be a polarizing gastronomic subject. Most people we talk to either love or hate them, with very little in between. If you’re reading this, then like us, you’ve probably got a strong affection for our friendly bivalve. Either way, they are one incredible organism.

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An old salty oystermen once referred to his prized catch as the weeds of the sea. This makes a lot of sense when you realize just how suitable Louisiana waters are for oysters. They grow nearly anywhere there is a mix of brackish water and something for a baby oyster to attach to. No wonder Louisiana has for many years produced 50% of the oysters harvested in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Although the industry has taken a huge hit since the BP oil spill; thankfully, these “weedy” oysters have not lost their luster to the consumer. In fact, since the BP disaster in 2010, The Louisiana Senate & Governor gave final approval to a bill that made the “cabochon-cut” of the eastern oyster, the variety found off Louisiana’s shore, the state’s new official gemstone.

Learn more, HERE!

This gemstone is not to be confused with the pearl, although they are composed of the same materials; Pearls are formed in an altogether different and yet groovy way. Watch this short yet incredible video on the magic of pearl production:

The Oyster Bed Turns One! : A Year in Review

This last year has been a wildly busy, fun & tasty ride. As a thanks to all of our many customers & supporters over the last year, we’ve decided to put together a blog post with some highlights from our last 12 months.

Kickstarter – A record setting experience

We took a leap of faith back in October 2014, when we launched our product on Kickstarter at the Louisiana Seafood Festival. Reaching 50% or our funding goal in the first weekend, it was reassuring to see all the early support for our new product.

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We were privileged to earn some great print and news media spots along the way…

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And enjoyed cooking for the entire Fox8 News Team.

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We were the first ever recipe/food sponsor at the Gulf Shores “Hangout” Oyster Fest!

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And we celebrated the holidays shipping products out to our many backers and then celebrating with all the people that helped make it such a big success.

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Bridal Portraits

International Housewares Show: Chicago 2015

We made our way up to Chicago to cook & showcase our products with Wilton Armetale at the International housewares show. We also made some new friends at the Chicago Oyster House & introduced a lot of folks to the the many flavors of The Oyster bed.

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We even got to invited to pitch our idea to Kevin Harrington from “As Seen On TV” & “Shark Tank”

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Can’t go to Chicago without seeing Trump Tower!  (More recently Tommy spent some time briefing him on national security issues)

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Miss USA Pageant: Baton Rouge

We were privileged to be invited to cook with some of Louisiana’s top chefs at an exclusive banquet celebrating the Miss USA contestants at the Houmas House Plantation.

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The beautiful ladies in the aprons are our wives. Don’t you agree that they could have been contestants?

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Festivals and the 2015 New Orleans Oyster Fest Week

We worked a lot of festivals this year and met a lot of great people!

While promoting the Festival, we got to hang out with Food Network Star Finalist Jay Ducote on the set of Good Morning New Orleans.

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We were excited to sell out ½ way through day #2 at the festival, despite some rainy weather. We’ll have to bring more products next year!

Here are just a few photos of the many festivals we attended.


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We even got to hang out with the 2015 Louisiana Oyster Queen!  

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Gambit’s Emerging Chefs Competition:

We were privileged to cook for over 500 attendees at this year’s Emerging Chefs Competition.

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Sustainable Seafood Bloggers Conference

We were invited to speak at the first ever Sustainable Seafood Bloggers Conference in NOLA.

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Trip with Famous Oyster Blogger Julie Qui

Tommy had the fantastic opportunity to accompany world renowned food blogger Julie Qui on a guided tour of native Louisiana oyster reefs with respected Oyster fishermen Peter Vujnovich.

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Check out her article here!

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We even got to meet the authors of our favorite Oyster Cookbooks:

  • The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Oyster Edition (Jerald and Glenda Horst)
  • P&J’s Oyster’s ( The Sunseri Family)

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These are just a few of the many memories that we made in our first year after launching.  None of this would have been possible without the incredible support of our family, friends and you, our loyal customers.

Many Blessings & Cheers to another year of Cultivating Creative Cooking & remember….

“The World is your Oyster!”