Pricey Gulf oysters hit Thanksgiving tables
As Thanksgiving nears, consumers with a taste for oyster soup and oyster dressing with their holiday meals are discovering the delectable shellfish are still in shorter supply and more expensive than before last year’s Gulf oil spill. But most don’t seem to mind.
“It’s understandable, ” said New Orleans resident Simon Templer, who spent close to $20 for two pints of shucked oyster meat for a cream-based oyster and artichoke soup he plans to prepare for Thanksgiving. “The oyster industry is still hurting, so I’m willing to spend more if I have to. ”
Mike Voisin, owner of an oyster processing and sales business southwest of New Orleans, said Gulf oyster production is at the lowest level it’s been in decades. Oyster harvesters took a bashing last year during the Gulf oil spill when much of the crop was killed off in coastal waters of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Now the oyster crop, which needs brackish water to thrive, is even more depressed because of freshwater intrusion from Mississippi River flooding this summer.
“This will be our lowest oyster year in a very long time, probably since the late ‘80s, ” Voisin said.