Oysters galore for bivalve benefit

Guests ate 3,000 oysters at Wednesday night's Romancing the Oyster event.
Photo by Kaylea Moore

Guests ate 3,000 oysters at Wednesday night's Romancing the Oyster event.

The Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown was packed with oyster lovers last night for Romancing the Oyster, a benefit for the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group and the Edgartown Growers Association.

Rick Karney and Amandine Surier, of the Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group.

Photo by Kaylea Moore

Rick Karney and Amandine Surier, of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group.

“It’s really fantastic to see this turnout,” said Rick Karney, director of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group. “People that are leaving are saying they are coming back next year.”

More than 200 people attended the sold out event. They slurped, gulped and ate over 3,000 oysters donated by the Edgartown Growers Association. Chef Nathan Gould of the Harbor View Hotel prepared a spread of hot buffet items that highlighted this local treasure, including oyster stew, beignets, po’ boys and grilled oysters.

Raw bars flanked the room with ice boats constantly being replenished with fresh oysters. Ten growers spent the night shucking their prized bivalves, while guests loaded up their plates, comparing and sharing with their friends which oysters they enjoyed the most.

Scott Castro of Blue Moon Oysters and Ryan Smith of Signature Oysters.

Photo by Kaylea Moore

Scott Castro of Blue Moon Oysters and Ryan Smith of Signature Oysters.

“Part of the culture on the Island is the world class shellfish that we have here, and it should be celebrated,” said Mr. Karney.

Romancing the Oyster kicks off a new campaign of the Shellfish Group called “Bivalvify the Vineyard.” The 3rd annual Shellfish Extravaganza will take place on April 15 at the Chilmark Community Center and will feature a chowder contest, silent auction and music by Johnny Hoy. In July, be on the lookout for a shellfish art show at the Spring Building in Tashmoo.

The article originally published online incorrectly identified Ryan Smith of Katama Bay Oysters. Mr. Smith is associated with Signature Oysters.