Oyster Festival opens up at Mystic Seaport

NOANK & MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — The dock at the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative is a busy place these days.

When it was first started 18 years ago there were no oysters in that part of the Mystic River. But now the Co-op grows even more oysters than it harvests.

“We started out doing about five hundred thousand oysters a year. We’re up to ten million this year,” said Jim Markow who owns Mystic Oysters.

His company is one of the growers which make up the Noank Co-Op. It will be part of this weekend’s Mystic River Oyster Festival at Mystic Seaport.

“Our water quality is the best in the state here,” said Markow.

As filter feeders oysters mimic their environment. The shoreline has rainfall closures and oysters aren’t harvested until their healthy.

“The normal time for a closed area for oysters is two weeks,” said Markow. “So they’ll sit in a clean area for two weeks,”

Charlie Larkin will be shucking the oysters at the festival and there will be lots of them.

“It’s tough to say maybe a thousand,” said Larkin. “I don’t know. There’s going to be a lot of oysters. Hopefully.”

Larkin doesn’t even wear gloves when he shucks but he’s had lots of practice. In fact he’s a shucking champion.

“I had a time of a minute 57 seconds for two dozen oysters,” said Larkin.

If visitors like the Mystic Oyster or any of the oysters at the festival this weekend they may be happy to know the flavor should be consistent year after year.

Oysters will be served at the Mystic River Oyster Festival between 11:00 A.M.and 5:00 P.M. on Saturday at Mystic Seaport.

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