“Oysters embody our growing obsession with tracing our food back to its natural origins. A plate of them, raw on the half-shell and glistening in their own juices, has the undeniable allure of being plucked directly out of the salty deep. To eat a Chesapeake Bay oyster raw, with all of its brininess and soft, delicate flesh, is to conjure the glamour of the wild, mysterious bay in one fell gulp. ‘You have never seen the sea,’ wrote the playwright Edmond Rostand in Cyrano De Bergerac, ‘but in an oyster on the shell.’ But chances are, the last oyster you slurped was a farmed one.”
—From “Half-Shell Hero,” Madeleine Thomas's Grist piece about the rise of shellfish farming, and how it could help the beleaguered Chesapeake Bay rebound
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It’s a complex issue, but NRDC attorney Molly Masterton says that a combination of smart management policies and consumer vigilance is key to the solution.