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Bringing Oysters to Your Holiday Table

From the turkey on the table to the star atop the tree, this time of year is all about honoring our roots. Everything seems to center around one thing: the food! If you want to stay true to American history, you should consider including oysters in your holiday spread. Whether you’re serving them on the half shell, in a stew, or in the stuffing, you can get your oysters right here from Virginia’s River Realm.

A Little Bit of History

Oysters were an easy food source during the 17th and 18th Centuries. As early American settlers learned more about the land and waters here, they discovered an abundance of oysters. In fact, oysters were so plentiful that ships had to be careful not to run aground on oyster beds.  Settlers weren’t strangers to oysters. Many British cookbooks from the 17th Century feature oyster recipes. They continued the tradition upon discovering the abundance in America. The Native Americans had already been enjoying oysters, especially roasted. There is evidence that Native Americans brought oysters to the first inaugural Thanksgiving feast.


How To Bring them To your Holiday Spread

There are a variety of ways to tap into this part of American history as you prepare for your holiday gatherings. You can kick off your celebrations with oysters on the half shell as an appetizer. Offer lemons, hot sauce, cocktail sauce, and even a mignonette (a blend of vinegar, shallots and other herbs) to slurp back the raw oysters.

If you’re all about the stuffing (some people call it dressing) then you must try incorporating oysters into your recipe. Pete Woods, Food Guru at Merroir, has been doing it for decades. He bases his Stuffin Muffin at Merroir off his mother’s own recipe, using Thanksgiving leftovers. He also shared a cornbread stuffing recipe in this article on Local Palate. The oyster is easy to incorporate into sweet or savory dressing recipes.

Thinking you’d like to serve Christmas dinner with a warm and comforting stew? Oysters make the perfect base. Coastal Living Magazine has a simple and savory oyster stew recipe that requires a pint of Virginia oysters. We hope you like it creamy. Get the recipe here.

Where To Get Them

Whether you’re serving up oysters on the halfshell as an appetizer or turning your stuffing into an oyster delicacy, there’s no better place to get your oysters than from the River Realm! Come down and visit one of our local oyster retailers or visit them online to have them delivered right to your doorstep.

J & W Seafood: 16552 General Puller Highway, Deltaville,  (804) 776-6400

Chesapeake Bay Oyster Company: 1379 Wake Road, Wake, 804-338-6530

Deltaville Oyster Company: 210 Circle Drive, Deltaville, (804) 357-1931 

Farmer’s Daughter: 10935 George Washington Memorial Highway, Gloucester, (804) 694-0569

Shores & Ruark Seafood: 453 Johnsons Drive, Urbanna,  (804) 758-8588

Dutton’s Seafood: 9900 Davenport Road, Gloucester,  (804) 694-0094

Jim Dan Dee Seafood507 North Main Street, Kilmarnock, (804) 435-7750

Bluewater Seafood: 459 N Main St, Kilmarnock,  (804) 435-3530

R. W. Hall Seafood: 304 Rappahannock Drive, White Stone, (804) 435-3796

Rappahannock Oyster Co.: 784 Locklies Creek Rd, Topping,  (804) 204-1709


And Many More…

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