Gulf Coast


The primary exception to the no-appellation rule is Apalachicola. Apalachicola Bay—thirty miles of shallow oyster paradise on the Florida panhandle—produces 90 percent of Florida’s oysters. The best may come from Big Bayou, a remote and pristine area on the saltier western part of the bay, near Saint Vincent Island, a National Wildlife Refuge. But in general all oysters from Apalachicola Bay go by the Apalachicola name. They are surprisingly old for warm-water oysters. Without the head-start of a floating nursery, it takes the oysters about three years to reach three inches. Apalachicola is the last place in the United States where, by law, wild oysters are still harvested by tongs from small boats. It’s an astonishing and atavistic sight in a state not known for embracing the past, but Apalachicola has always gone out of its way to protect its bay from development and maintain its traditional livelihoods. For much more about the Apalachicola oyster experience, see my full story here.

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Apalachicola Bay