FOOD: A Few Oysters R Back

In hundreds of bays and inlets along the upper Atlantic Coast this week there was a splash of activity: the oyster season had opened.* Oystermen clambered into their tug-like boats, chug-chugged to the beds, used big dredges to pull bivalves from the bottom, came home gunwales deep with shellfish. To landlubbers everything looked the same. But veteran oystermen knew better.

Main difference is that this year's oyster haul is estimated at only 15,000,000 bushels, 20% below last year and the smallest in 21 years. One reason: an oyster takes four to five years...

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