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Gulf Oyster Farming

Farm-raised Gulf oysters from Mobile Bay

These Point aux Pins oysters were among the best Gulf oysters I’ve eaten lately. They were grown from hatchery spat in racks off the bottom of Mobile Bay, and like most farm-raised oysters, they had perfectly formed shells. As for the flavor, they were incredibly briny (42 to nearly 50 parts per thousand salinity). I want to taste these again later in the season when they get a little plumper and sweeter. As usual, Texas lags way behind the rest of the Gulf oyster industry when it comes to innovative programs. That’s because our state regards oysters as a nuisance that get in the way of the oil and gas biz.

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The Wizard of Oysters

Dr. John Supan

Dr. John Supan, head of oyster research at LSU, is a visionary who is leading the Louisiana oyster industry out of the 19th century and into a brave new world of oyster farming. Supan built an oyster hatchery in Western Louisiana that would have revolutionized the leasing business, if it hadn’t been destroyed by hurricanes. Undaunted, he is building another hatchery on Grand Isle. He is also developing a Gulf triploid. A triploid is a sterile oyster that retains its sweet plumpness through the summer because it doesn’t convert glycogen to gonad.

Dr. Supan, or “Soup” as he prefers to be known, invited me to speak at his annual oyster get-together in New Orleans last week. I asked Jim Gossen to come along and help me present a new idea in Gulf oyster marketing. I’ll write more about my talk and my modest proposal to the Louisiana oystermen over the course of the week.

But first, check out what Supan is up to.

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