When you’re in Panama City Beach, Florida, and you head over to one of the many restaurants famous for their oysters, what you’re probably going to get are some of the finest oysters in the world.
Apalachicola oysters have a reputation of being the best – that’s why they make up 90 percent of Florida’s oyster harvest and 10 percent of the nation’s supply. This is no reflection on the quality of oysters from the Atlantic Coast or Chesapeake Bay, which are excellent in their own right, but there is something special about the oysters that thrive in the beautiful and pristine waters of Apalachicola Bay — thirty miles of shallow oyster paradise on the Florida panhandle.
Apalachicola is the last place in the United States where wild oysters are still harvested by tongs from small boats. Once one of the busiest commercial arteries in the Old South, the Apalachicola River carries nutrient-laden silt down to the bay, creating an ideal environment for the thriving oyster beds.
In three years, an Apalachicola Bay oyster will grow to a length of around three inches. The prized oysters are noted for their fine, clean taste, consistency and general perfection. The New York Times reported in 2002 that Apalachicola Bay oysters were \”among the finest in the world, if not the finest.\” The article reported that the best known chefs in the country prized the oysters above all others.
Whether you’re at Harpoon Harry’s, Dusty’s, Shuckums, Sharky’s or any of the well-known oyster hot spots in Panama City Beach, rest-assured, your oysters are fresh, delicious, and more than likely come from Apalachicola.
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