Virginia's 7 Oyster Growing Regions



From salty to sweet, here are the oyster growing regions in Virginia and the tastes you can expect from each.

Region 1: Seaside, east from Cape Charles along the Eastern Shore and north to the state line

Tasting Notes
Saltiness:
Strong
Buttery/Creamy: Slight
Sweetness: Slight
Comments: Initial bold saltiness mellowing into a taste of sweet butter/cream at the finish.

Common Oysters Found Here: Ballard/Cherrystone, Broadwater Salts, Chincoteague, Indian Rock, Olde Salts, Sewansecott, Tom’s Cove

 

Region 2: Upper Bay Eastern Shore, north from around Onancock along the Eastern Shore to the state line

Tasting Notes
Saltiness:
Moderate
Buttery/Creamy: Barely Perceptible
Sweetness: Slight
Comments: Classic Virginia Bay oyster flavor with balanced salt and sweet, with a savory finish

Common Oysters Found Here: Battle Creek, Dixie Belles, Pungoteague Creek

 

Region 3: Lower Bay Eastern Shore, south from around Onancock along the Eastern Shore to Cape Charles

Tasting Notes
Saltiness:
Very Noticeable
Buttery/Creamy: Slight
Sweetness: Slight
Comments: Salty and creamy with mellow sweetness and a quick finish

Common Oysters Found Here: Nandua, Ruby Salts, Sandy Point, Shooting Point

 

Region 4: Upper Bay Western Shore, from the mouth of the Rappahannock River north along the Northern Neck shore and west into the Potomac River

Tasting Notes
Saltiness:
Moderate
Buttery/Creamy: Barely Perceptible
Sweetness: Barely Perceptible
Comments: Sweetwater oyster with a light cream taste
Common Oysters Found Here: Bevans Oysters, Chesapeake Bay Oyster Co., Clippers, Deltaville Oyster Co., Fleets Bay, Schooners, Skipjacks, Windmill Point

 

Region 5: Middle Bay Western Shore, the Rappahannock River and south along the mainland shore to about midway along the Middle Peninsula

Tasting Notes
Saltiness:
Moderate
Buttery/Creamy: Slight
Sweetness: Slight
Comments: Lightly salty with easily distinguished cream or butter and a pleasant slight minerality

Common Oysters Found Here: Chapel Creek Oyster Company, Rappahannock River Oysters, Shores & Ruark

 

Region 6: Lower Bay Western Shore, from about midway along the Middle Peninsula south along the mainland shore to, and including, the York River

Tasting Notes
Saltiness:
Moderate
Buttery/Creamy: Barely Perceptible
Sweetness: Barely Perceptible
Comments: Mild saltiness moving to a sweet finish

Common Oysters Found Here: Dandylicious, Eagle Flats, Forbidden Oysters, Mobjack Bay, Stingray Oysters, York River Oysters, Yorkster

 

Region 7: Tidewater, from the mouth of the York River south, including the James River, Nansemond River, Elizabeth River and the Hampton Roads coast from Ocean View west to Cape Henry, including Lynnhaven Bay

Tasting Notes
Saltiness:
Very Noticeable
Buttery/Creamy: Barely Perceptible
Sweetness: Slight
Comments: Salty oyster with sweetness and a smooth finish

Common Oysters Found Here: Church Point, James River, Lynnhaven River, Lynnhaven Oyster Co., Nansemond River, Pleasure House Oysters, York Point Oysters

Note: Flavors of oysters can change slightly depending on the time of the year they are harvested.

This information is adapted from VirginiaOysters.org.

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