The U.S. museum Mystic Seaport has released a video, "Farming the Sea: Oystering at Mystic Seaport." Oysters have quite a story at Mystic Seaport – settlers have been oystering since the 18th century and they continue to be farmed today. Museum staff and ocean experts explain the process of cultivating these shellfish and their other benefits to the surrounding area.
The museum highlights a few of the most common misconceptions about oysters:
Oysters are unsafe in months without the letter ‘R’
This is actually a well-intentioned myth, but untrue nonetheless. The fact is, oysters are perfectly safe to eat year-round, but many oysters spawn in non-R months (May through August), which can make their flavor less appealing. The myth seems to have been started to protect oyster populations during their breeding months, but these days, many oysters are bred not to spawn at all, which means you can enjoy delicious oysters any time of year.
Eating oysters is harmful to the environment
Oysters bring many benefits to their surrounding habitat, including forming protective reefs, providing food and filtering pollutants out of the water. Fortunately, the vast majority of oysters are sourced from dedicated farms, so they’re not impacting the natural ecosystem.
Oysters are high in cholesterol
According to the latest methods of determining cholesterol content, oysters are not considered a high-cholesterol food. In addition, they’re only about 15 calories per ounce, and a great source of vitamin B12 and zinc.
Oysters are an aphrodisiac
This is probably the most prevalent (and certainly the most fun) rumor about oysters, but unfortunately, it’s never been conclusively proven. In fact, the FDA has no clinical evidence that any aphrodisiac food actually works. With that said, oysters can still have a powerful placebo effect, which can be just as potent.
Mystic Seaport was founded in 1929 to gather and preserve the rapidly disappearing artifacts of America’s seafaring past. The Museum has grown to become a national center for research and education with the mission to “inspire an enduring connection to the American maritime experience.”
The Museum’s grounds cover 19 acres on the Mystic River in Mystic, CT and include a recreated New England coastal village, a working shipyard, formal exhibit halls and state-of-the-art artifact storage facilities. The Museum is home to more than 500 historic watercraft, including four National Historic Landmark vessels, most notably the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship still in existence.
The Museum hosts 284,000 visitors annually and has an active membership base of 14,000 from all over the U.S. and the world.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.