Despite the sour news on the scallop front, this year has been a banner one for oyster growers in the Peconic Estuary, and this year’s Greenport Shellabration is a perfect opportunity to share your love of local shellfish and your support for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program, which works to restore and protect shellfisheries and habitat here.
On the afternoons of Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, more than 15 restaurants throughout Greenport are partnering to offer small plate pairings featuring local shellfish dishes ($5) and pours of local wine ($3) from noon to four p.m.
Wristbands to gain access to the festivities are $20 per day or $30 for a two-day pass and can be purchased online at shellabration.li. The proceeds from the wristbands benefit CCE’s Marine Program.
On the days of the event, make your way to either Little Creek Oysters at 37 Front Street or the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company at 234 Carpenter Street for your wristband and a tour map pinpointing the participating restaurants.
Start your journey at either location with a free glass of Greenport Harbor beer paired with a clam and oyster raw bar courtesy of the Southold Project in Aquaculture Training (SPAT), the community aquaculture education program run by Cornell Cooperative Extension at its Cedar Beach marine station in Southold.
Participating restaurants include Cuvée at the Greenporter Hotel, Port, The Merchant’s Wife, Noah’s, Green Hill Kitchen, Industry Standard, Ellen’s On Front, Kate’s Cheese Co., Andy’s, The Frisky Oyster, Whiskey Wind Tavern, Lucharitos, Claudio’s, Little Creek Oysters, First & South, Stirling Sake, Basso, American Beach and Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. Special discounts are also available to bracelet holders at boutiques throughout the village.
The Marine Program, which became part of CCE in 1985, is known and respected nationally and internationally. Its mission is to protect our waters, providing a clean environment for our fish, fowl and plants.
CCE researchers and educators are busy working to inform Long Islanders how we can each do our part to safeguard our environment. Projects have been designed to bring back our once thriving eelgrass and shellfish populations, ensure our commercial fishing industry continues to thrive while limiting bycatch, provide public education about environmental consequences of stormwater runoff, and introduce young people to marine sciences and marine life on Long Island.
To augment the limited staff of the Cornell Marine Program, volunteers in the SPAT program help produce shellfish to seed the bays. SPAT volunteers and members grow baby shellfish (known as ‘spat’) in containment, away from predators, until they reach an adult size, when they release them into local creeks and bays and promote wild settlement.
Volunteers and members are offered monthly workshops and provided with shellfish seed and tools and supplies to grow their shellfish gardens either at their own waterfront properties or in the SPAT community garden. In exchange for a minimal fee, all permits are secured and members may keep their oysters for their personal use. No oysters can be sold.
The volunteers maintain their own hatchery (the”SPAT Shack”), and nursery. Over 1,000 people have taken part in this program and it continues to grow each year. More information is online here.