York River

The York is ideally situated for oysters. It’s low in the Chesapeake, with a direct line east to the open Atlantic. The salinity is higher than other Chesapeake river mouths, ranging from 19 to 24 ppt, depending on rainfall and how much of that Atlantic water can push its way upriver, yet the oysters always balance the salt with that buttery Virginia mountain quality. York River oysters have an ideal shepherd in Tommy Leggett, the scientist who helped bring oyster aquaculture to Virginia and who heads the Oyster Recovery Project for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Leggett’s day job involves working with volunteers to grow millions of healthy seed oysters and introduce them to the bay in places where they are likely to survive and reproduce. To keep himself grounded, he also farms oysters near his home on the York River. He sells only about 1,000 a week, so York Rivers are a rare treat. They can be ordered through the Rappahannock River Oyster Company.

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