Sustainable Seafood Spotlight: Oysters
Science calls them salt-water dwelling bivalve molluscs. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program calls them a Best Choice buy. We call them the perfect food.
Whereas wild oyster populations were decimated from overharvesting in the past, modern oyster aquaculture techniques satisfy our appetite for oysters without negatively affecting the environment. The vast majority of oysters eaten nowadays are cultivated, as opposed to wild, and oyster farming has proved to be a boon for the environment.
Oysters are keystone species (meaning they have an outsize effect on their habitat). They filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, cleaning the water and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. There are few foods as delicious and Earth-friendly as oysters!
Try It At Jax: Because we have a healthy community of oyster lovers in Colorado and KC, we are able to fly in multiple varieties of fresh oysters from either coast daily. If you are interested in enjoying tasty molluscs from both coasts at the same sitting, you could argue that Jax is perfectly positioned in the middle of the country as the ideal oyster-eating destination.
Our own proprietary Emersum Oyster is the result of months of research in cooperation with Rappahannock River Oysters (RRO) in Virginia.The Emersum Oyster is exclusive to Jax Fish House and is the freshest oyster this side of either coast. RRO has been run by the Croxton family since its inception in 1899. In 2001, after decades of overharvesting the wild oysters, it was estimated that the Chesapeake Bay had barely 1% of its historic populations. When cousins Ryan and Travis Croxton took over the business in 2002, they knew they would need to innovate a new form of restorative aquaculture in the Rappahannock River. They experimented with a new system of “off-bottom aquaculture” until they perfected it, discovering along the way that this system spawned its own oyster seed, meaning they wouldn’t have to tap wild stocks.
Every Emersum Oyster brings with it the certainty of delicious “merroir”, the certainty that it was grown at 37° 36’ 28 N latitude & 76° 25’ 48 W longitude, and the certainty that for every oyster, dozens more are seeded in an improved ecosystem.
Did you know: There are five species of oysters cultivated commercially in North America. Each has classic characteristics, though they can be expressed quite differently depending on location and growing conditions. The five species are:
Eastern or East Coast (CRASSOSTREA VIRGINICA)
Pacific or West Coast (CRASSOSTREA GIGAS)
Kumamoto (CRASSOSTREA SIKAMEA)
European Flat (OSTREA EDULIS)
Olympia (OSTREA CONCHAPHILA)
CHEF SHEILA’S OG MIGNONETTE RECIPE
Yields 2 cups
2 cups Red wine vinegar
¾ cup sugar
1 bay leaf
4-5 whole peppercorns
1 Shallot, finely diced
-In a small pot, bring the vinegar, sugar, bay leaf and peppercorns to a boil.
– Stir to dissolve the sugar and strain out the peppercorns and bay leaf. Pour the liquid into a container to cool.
– While the liquid is still warm, add the shallots allowing them to poach in the liquid as it cools.
Chill and serve with freshly shucked oysters!
Jax Fish House was the first restaurant in Colorado and Missouri to be certified by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Learn more about our commitment to sustainable sourcing.