Save Our Bay Oyster Roast, Jan. 28
Oysters are not only a delicacy, they are also critical to the health of the Choctawhatchee Bay, which the community depends on for fishing and recreation. In celebration of the oyster and to raise funds for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), the non-profit organization responsible for sustaining healthy local waterways through monitoring, education, restoration, and research, Whole Foods Market-Destin is hosting the “Save Our Bay Oyster Roast” on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The community is invited to visit Whole Foods Market and sample roasted oysters and discover how oysters help improve the health of local waterways. With bushels of fresh Blue Point oysters, the Whole Foods-Market culinary team will demonstrate roasting, a classic, southern-style preparation of the popular mollusk, using a flame and damp burlap sack. Whole Foods-Market Chefs will also offer signature sides and a healthy, prepared meal option for kids.
The event will be complemented with kids’ activities and educational booths highlighting the importance of oysters, the CBA’s O.Y.S.T.E.R shell recycling program, and the benefits of a healthy coastal ecosystem. Kids will be able to showcase their creativity by participating in oyster crafts and create their own oyster critter. In addition, families may personalize a shell and become part of a future reef, which will create a new living shoreline within the Bay. For families who are competitive, the oyster memory game tests participants’ short-term memory for a chance to win a prize. Families will also have the opportunity to become a member of the CBA, and learn more about volunteer openings.
As an added bonus, the event will include the opportunity to enter to win prizes from area merchants. Admission is FREE and roasted oysters will be available for $1/oyster. Sponsored by Grayton Beer Company, cans of Grayton Beer will be available for $3/beer. In addition, Whole Foods Market will have a coffee bar and other food offerings available for purchase. All oyster and beer proceeds benefit the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance. For more information, visit BasinAlliance.org or call (850) 200-4171.
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Q&A About Efforts to Monitor & Restore Choctawhatchee Bay
Did you know? Oysters play a vital role in health of the Choctawhatchee Bay. An adult oyster can filter as much as two and a half gallons of water per hour, up to 50 gallons of water a day. Additionally, oyster reefs provide habitat for a variety of important species and serve as a barrier against waves and boat wake, helping reduce shoreline erosion.
What is the OYSTER Program? CBA and Americorps Green Team launched the O.Y.S.T.E.R. shell recycling program in partnership with area restaurants with the goal of collecting oyster shells and reusing them to construct oyster reef habitat. Since Nov. 2010, CBA has been using the recycled shells to create living oyster reefs, and improving the health of the Choctawhatchee Bay. By eating oysters at participating O.Y.S.T.E.R restaurants, you’ll be supporting CBA. Eat Oysters at: The Back Porch, Bayou Bill’s, Buster’s, Captain Dave’s on the Gulf, The Crab Trap, Kenny D’s, O’Quigley’s, Shrimp Basket, Surf Hut and Whole Foods Market.
What else does the CBA do to help the Bay?The CBA doesn’t just monitor water quality in the Bay, they also monitor seagrass that grows in the flats. Halodule wrightii is the species of seagrass that calls Choctawhatchee Bay its home. Looking out onto the water, the dark colored splotches in the shallow flats are carpets of seagrass that provide habitat and shelter for many species of marine wildlife including redfish, shrimp and speckled trout.
What do stingray mean for the Bay? Stingrays burrow their nose in the sand to hunt for food. The quick action of their fluttering fins creates a pit in the sand. CBA is conducting research on the effects stingray pits have on the Halodule wrightiipopulation. Halodule wrightiihas rhyzomatic growth patterns, meaning new plants shoot out laterally from nodes at the base of the mother plant. Posing the question: Do stingrays uproot Halodule wrightii when they forage for food? Through CBA research, we hope to find out.
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