ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Apalachicola Bay Oysters, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Apalachicola Bay Oysters, Florida
Apalachicola Bay Oysters
The bay's famed Apalachicola Oysters are known
world-wide for their flavor and consistency. For true
Southerners, they are the best in the world.
Photo courtesy of Betty Gilbert Davis.
Apalachicola Bay Oysters
Boats fill Apalachicola Bay on
a sunny fall day as oyster
men and women work the
famed oyster beds.
Oyster Harvesting Exhibit
A preserved boat and original
tools are on display at St.
George Island State Park to
explain the industry to visitors.
Treasure of the Bay
Harvesting of Apalachicola
Oysters goes back thousands
of years. It became a major
industry before the Civil War.
Apalachicola Bay Oysters - Apalachicola, Florida
Famed Apalachicola Bay Oysters
Oyster Fleet at Work
Generations of Apalachicola
residents have made their
livings working the bay's
famed oyster beds.
Copyright 2010 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Any lover of oysters will tell you quickly and
without doubt that Apalachicola Bay Oysters
are absolutely the finest in the world.

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.

No less a food authority than
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.
Please click here to
read the review in its entirety.

According to
www.oysterguide.com, a thirty
mile stretch of Apalachicola Bay is the last
place in the United States where wild oysters
are still harvested from small boats using
tongs.

The bay is fed by the
Apalachicola River, a
major free-flowing river fed by the Flint and
Chattahoochee RIvers which rise high in
North Georgia. They join at Lake Seminole
on the Florida-Georgia line to become the
Apalachicola. Once one of the busiest
commercial arteries in the Old South, the
Apalachicola 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.
Despite all his efforts, man has yet to grow
oysters that come anywhere near the quality
of those grown wild by God in Apalachicola
Bay.

The history of the oyster fisheries dates back
thousands of years. Prehistoric Indians
came down to the bay to harvest the oysters
for food. Oyster shells originating from the
bay are commonly found at archaeological
sites far up the Apalachicola River system.

Early settlers were quick to recognize the
quality and taste of the bay oysters and it was
not long before small boats began to ply
Apalachicola Bay to harvest them. It is a
tradition that has continued down through
local families to this day.

Georgia newspapers dating from before the
Civil War report the arrival of barrels of the
prized oysters on paddlewheel steamboats
coming up from Apalachicola. Ocean-going
ships carried the oysters far and wide,
assuring their fame throughout the United
States.
It is a unique fact that the Union Navy allowed
oyster harvesting to continue uninterrupted in
Apalachicola Bay during the Civil War, even
though the Federal blockade of the Southern
coast was in effect.

Early settlers of the interior counties of the
Florida Panhandle described going down to
the bay and coming back with wagon loads
of oysters for special events, particularly
during the cold winter months. Christmas
afternoons spent eating Apalachicola Bay
oysters are beloved traditions in many
families of the region.

The availability of refrigeration in the modern
era assured the survival and expansion of
the oyster industry, but local people had to
fight long and hard to save their lifestyle from
the rampant development that spread across
Florida during the 20th Century. The fight
continues to this day, with Apalachicola Bay
often battling the mighty city of Atlanta to keep
the needed freshwater flowing down to the
bay instead of being syphoned off to feed the
city's growing need for water.

It is a unique fact that the fight to save the
oyster industry also saved much of the
historic charm of the
city of Apalachicola, the
best place on earth to try a plate of fresh from
the water Apalachicola Bay oysters.
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