Did you know that when Henry Hudson first arrived on the shores of New York Habor in 1609, he encountered 220,000 acres of oyster beds–nearly half the oyster population of the entire world! In recent years, however, that number had almost entirely diminished, which is where the Billion Oyster Project came in. Since 2014, they’ve been working to restore oyster reefs to the harbor with the goal of adding one billion oysters by 2035. Their work hasn’t stopped during COVID, and this year, the nonprofit’s annual party is going virtual. Next Thursday, join the Billion Oyster Party for a shucking lesson (don’t worry, you’ll get your mollusks in the mail!), food demonstrations, timely discussions, and more.
The Billion Oyster Party usually takes place at Liberty Warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn. This year’s virtual event, however, will bring all the fun to your home. General admission ticketholders ($185 each) will receive a half-dozen oysters of three varieties (18 total). VIP admission ticketholders ($500 each) will receive a full oyster party pack, which consists of five oyster varieties totalling 30, along with special toppings and shucking tools.
Participating oyster farms include Cape May Salt Oyster Company, Fishers Island Oyster Farm, Hama Hama Oyster Co., Hollywood Oyster Co., Louisiana Oyster Co., Nonesuch Oysters, Pelican Oyster Co., Real Oyster Cult, and Violet Cove Oysters.
All guests will get a behind-the-scenes look at the Billion Oyster Project’s work and get to enjoy a full roster of scheduled events including a shucking demo, a lobster roll demo, a champagne pairing talk with Moët Hennessy, a beer pairing talk with Brooklyn Brewery, a panel discussion on “what it takes to be an oyster farmer,” a panel on intersectional environmentalism, and more. There will also be a silent auction featuring “water-inspired items and experiences in New York City and beyond.”
And if you’re wondering what all the oyster to-do is about, the Project explains: “Oysters naturally filter water as they eat, their reefs attract hundreds of species to their reefs, and those reefs can help to protect from the effects of powerful storms like Hurricane Sandy.” (And, of course, they’re delicious!) To date, the Project has planted 45 million oysters across 12 acres and 15 reef sites, with the help of more than 6,000 students and 10,000 volunteers.
The Billion Oyster Party is taking place via Zoom on Thursday, September 24 from 6:30-8:30pm. Find out more about the event and get your tickets here >>