'Virtual Oyster Hour' for oyster reef restoration and farmers affected by COVID-19

ByEmily Sowa WABC logo
Friday, May 1, 2020
Billion Oyster Project: Rebuilding New York Harbor's oyster population one shell at a time
The Billion Oyster Project has a goal of restoring one billion live oysters to New York Harbor by 2035.

GOVERNORS ISLAND, New York (WABC) -- The Billion Oyster Project (BOP) is excited to announce its first-ever 'Virtual Oyster Hour' that will take place on Thursday, May 7th, 2020.

In place of the organization's annual Billion Oyster Party - postponed to September 24, 2020 - the crew at BOP invites oyster fans around the country to tune in for an interactive Zoom event on ordering, shucking, storing, preparing, and pairing oysters at home!

The Billion Oyster Project, which has worked since 2014 to rebuild oyster reefs in the waters surrounding New York City.

"When explorers first arrived in New York Harbor, they found a harbor that was full of fish," said Pete Malinowski, Executive Director of Billion Oyster Project. "And the backbone of that ecosystem was the oyster reefs."

The Billion Oyster Project is trying to change that by recycling shells from partnering restaurants and getting them back in the water to build oyster reefs.

"We collect shells from over 70 restaurants in New York City, and in total, we have collected 1.3 million pounds of oyster shells to date," said Charlotte Boesch, Shell Collection Program Manager of Billion Oyster Project.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, their annual Billion Oyster Party fundraiser, had to be postponed.

"We are disappointed to not gather in May as we have for the last six years, but we are excited to allow our supporters to gather, albeit around a computer, to learn about the role of oysters - as a delicious food source and an ecosystem engineer," said Maddy Wachtel, Deputy Director at Billion Oyster Project. "We hope this event will shed light on the situation of the oyster farming and restaurant industries, which have been hit hard by COVID-19. Both of these communities have been incredibly generous to the Billion Oyster Project over the years, so this event aims to bring awareness to their hardship and increase people's comfort in ordering oysters to prepare and enjoy at home."

For an optimal viewing experience, BOP recommends supporting some of their Shell Collection restaurant partners still open for delivery and oyster farmers hit hard by COVID-19 by ordering a few dozen oysters directly to your door.

To join Billion Oyster Project's 'Virtual Oyster Hour' coming up on May 7, at 6 pm EST, you can either purchase your ticket to the Sept. 24 Billion Oyster Party and receive a complimentary link to participate in the Zoom event, or purchase Oyster Hour streaming access on Eventbrite.

Oysters have a surprisingly long shelf life and their guest chefs will demonstrate various ways to prepare oysters - even in quarantine.



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