On October 1st, Maryland’s oystering season opened again for another year. Currently, Maryland has 1,100 licensed oyster harvesters that will head out this winter from harbors around the state in search of bars full of mature, 3 inch ‘keeper’ Eastern oysters. Throughout the rest of the month, only a few forms of oystering are allowed: hand tonging, patent tonging, and diving. Power dredging begins on November 1st.
Traditionally, the “R” months (from September to April) have been the boundaries of oyster season in the Chesapeake Bay. Oysters spawn in the summer, making them milky and unpalatable, but in the colder months their efforts to turn growth and energy conservation, and they become the fat, toothsome morsels we love to enjoy half-shell or in stews, fritters, dressings, and all sorts of delicious ways.
Image by author.