European oysters, first farmed by the Romans, were so prized that they were transported across the English Channel in snow-packed barrels. Today, they are farmed off New England, California and Washington state and, to a lesser degree, in France, England and Norway. On the U.S. East Coast, the oysters are also taken from the wild. Some market names reflect European origins, like Whistable (England), Lymfjord (Denmark) or Zelande (Netherlands). European oysters are grown on the sea floor or in suspended systems employing trays, mesh bags or “Chinese hats” (Frisbee-shaped discs). These so-called “flat” oysters have a shallow shell and are harvested at 3 to 4 inches long. The species is primarily offered live for the halfshell trade. They are often incorrectly called “Belons.” In France, that name is protected by law; only oysters grown in the Belon River estuary of Brittany, in northern France, have a right to the name.