Billion Oyster Project and Farmers Get Together For Our Future

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Capital Oyster and Fishers Island Oyster farmers reflect on the lessons learned from generations of experience about sustainable growth practices and giving back to their waters while they join a community of people participating in the Billion Oyster Project - an organization that truly understands the power of change.

Tom Bloomfield

We must commit ourselves, as farmers, families and friends to protecting our ecosystem to honor all the generations of people that have come before us and to respect those that will come after.

Capital Oyster and Fishers Island Oyster farmers reflect on the lessons learned from generations of experience about sustainable growth practices and giving back to their waters while they join a community of people participating in the Billion Oyster Project - an organization that truly understands the power of change.

When the first box of Capital Oyster samples arrived at JFK, it had one mission: to find a home, in a blizzard. Within 24 hours Capital’s snuck in silence into a cold fridge, and one by one stepped up onto a Michelin Starred white plate and patiently sat there hoping someone would notice.

Tom Bloomfield, a fifth-generation oyster farmer, spends his days and nights in the quiet peace of the Pacific Northwest, perfecting this delicate animal. Grown in pesticide and chemical free water, Capital oysters are raised using the tide tumbled suspension method. This method works by elevating the oyster bags beautifully off the ground so they are not in contact and do not disturb the muddy bottom, gently tumbling each one with the natural tide in the Southern Puget Sound--which is just 9 miles north of Washington’s state Capital, Olympia. Olympia’s earliest settlers survived because of shellfish.

There is a universal truth that if we commit ourselves to integrity, quality and creativity, our work will have a profound impact on others’ lives. Oysters bring people together, which is why it’s important we commit ourselves to sustainable seafood. Many oyster farmers follow this methodology.

In 1987, Sarah and Steve Malinowski, of Fishers Island Oyster Farm, harvested their first batch of oysters grown in pearl nets. By 1988, they ventured off into New York City and began paring with celebrity chefs like Jean-Georges and Charlie Palmer who were at the beginning of their now highly successful careers. They were one of the first oyster companies from the east coast to focus on sustainable growth practices and arrived in a market--then dominated by the Blue Point name--as an alternative option. Now their aim is to cultivate and bring to market sustainable shellfish and at the same time help nurture the ecosystems promoting “Farm without Harm.”

Twenty-nine years later, Capital Oyster arrived to the New York market with a similar vision and the nation’s best west coast oyster. While the marker of approval may have been suspicious of the American name at first, Capital Oyster has continued to earn respect day by day in the culinary community.

Capital customers in New York City, like Joseph Marazzo, are visionaries, able to recognize what people will love quickly. Joseph opened his first Virgola in New York’s Greenwich Village. It is a sexy Italian wine bar that serves his unique Prosecco, a selection of east and west coast oysters as well as a variety of specialty Italian small plates. He’s expanded to a gorgeous East Village location and will be opening two more locations in Florida and Oklahoma soon. His incredible growth is a testimony to what true quality and creativity means to people.

Virgola, Lobster Place, and Grand Central Oyster Bar--all locations where you can find Capital Oysters--donate their shells to the Billion Oyster Project (BOP) an organization led by Peter Malinowski. BOP aims to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor by 2035 while engaging thousands of school children through restoration based STEM education programs. Join us on May 19th, 2016 as Capital Oyster and many other oyster farmers, community members, chefs and restaurants support and celebrate BOP and oyster restoration. To learn more about how you can participate in BOP restoration and educational programs please visit http://www.billionoysterproject.org/

It goes without saying that the oyster community has grown tremendously. We have all reached the point where delicious oysters are readily available at an eclectic variety of restaurants and raw bars. Tom Bloomfield’s commitment to oysters has resulted in him perfecting the Capital, an American named premium. It symbolizes the true beauty of what we can accomplish in the US if we pool the resources of every person who has made it their life’s work to teach sustainability. Next time you sit down to eat an oyster, remember that the delicate shell in your hand is a labor of love and embodies a lifetime of stories-just like the ones you share while eating them. We must commit ourselves, as farmers, families and friends to protecting our ecosystem to honor all the generations of people that have come before us and to respect those that will come after.

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Kate Muirhead
Capital Oyster
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since: 03/2016
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