|Aug. 18-19, 2017
||43rd annual Milford Oyster Festival
Milford Center, Milford, CT.
|Sept. 3-8, 2017
||18th International Conference on Diseases of Fish and Shellfish
Belfast, Northern Ireland
|Sept. 18-21, 2017
||Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association/National Shellfisheries Association
|Oct. 14-18, 2017
||Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference
Myrtle Beach, SC.
|Nov. 17-18, 2017
||Virginia Aquaculture Conference
Newport News, VA
Milford Oyster Festival
August 19-20, 2016
The 2016 Milford Festival was a huge success once again, shattering all previous sales records. For the eleventh straight year we enjoyed spectacular weather as massive crowds of eager shellfish lovers stopped by our three tents to sample a variety of 42,000 oysters and clams provided by ECSGA members. Every year we bring 20 percent more shellfish and every year we essentially sell out.
After this latest .success we are thinking about adding a fourth tent for next year. We are profoundly grateful to all those who stepped up to help out. We are getting pretty good at this, but none of it would be possible without the enthusiastic participation of dozens of volunteers and the capable organizational talents of our festival coordinator, Trisha Kozloski. Our volunteer ranks were filled not only with shellfish lovers, growers and dealers, but also with friends, relatives, retirees, researchers, supporters, most of the Milford Lab staff and even a dedicated regulator.
Last year several carloads of volunteers were turned away by a massive, multi-car, fatal accident that closed Route 95 for hours. Those who did manage to avoid the epic traffic jam were severely overworked and came away hurting. Thankfully this year we had lots of people on the team, all pulling together and making for an enjoyable, if exhausting, weekend.
We were able to trim the waiting time for those standing in line substantially (from as long as two hours last year, to under 30 minutes this year) by hiring ten more professional shuckers than we had last year. Those 28 professionals came from as far away as Toronto and New Orleans, and everywhere in between. Collectively they shucked just under two per second, working pretty much non-stop for about six hours straight.
For our shucking contest we had a record 19 contestants.
The thankless and delicate task of judging the shucking contest was handled by the discriminating and well-trained eyes of Richard Rush, of Oyster Aficionado fame (www.facebook.com/oysterspeak), and Kristin DeRosia-Banick of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.
In the final heat, which included contestants with the best scores in the preliminary heats, only 11 seconds separated the first-place and third-place finishers.
The champion and winner of our $1,000 top prize was David Burns, representing Rodney’s Oyster House in Toronto. Coming in second was James Geoghegan from Brooklyn, N.Y. Third place went to Matt Dobby, also from Rodney’s.
Because he was the top-placing American shucker, ECSGA and the Milford Festival will sponsor Geoghegan to represent us at the national oyster-shucking championships in St. Mary’s, Md., in October. 2015 festival contest winner Charlie Larkin, from Noank, Conn., was recruited to drive to Boston to retrieve an errant pallet of shellfish at midnight on Friday..
Running on just a couple of hours sleep, he nevertheless rallied to work all day Saturday shucking and still managed to compete well. Many of the growers stepped up to help shuck when the crowds peaked
or when the pros needed to take a breather.
Julie Qiu (of In A Half Shell fame) was Instagramming the event for all who couldn’t be there. She posted an awesome time-lapse shot of a dozen shuckers trying to keep up with the crowds at the Connecticut Grown tent. (Visit www.instagram.com/p/BJV0mzpBhsw/?taken-by=inahalfshellblog)
I’d like to extend a huge thank-you to all our members who stepped up and made donations of product, including (roughly from north to south): Tonie Simmons of Muscongus Bay Aquaculture, Bill Mook of Mook Seafarm, Al Surprenant of Cape Cod Shellfish, Alex Hay of Wellfleet Shellfish, Ben Lloyd of Pangea Shellfish Co., John and Cindy West of Cedar Island Oyster Co., Dave Roebuck of Salt Pond Oyster Co., Perry Raso of Matunuck Oyster Bar, Rob Krause of Ninigret Oyster Farm, Nick Papa and Jim Arnoux of East Beach Oyster Co., Matt Behan of Behan Family Farm, Jeff Gardner of Watch Hill Oysters, Jim Markow and Steve Plant of the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative, Chuck Viens of Charles Island Oyster, Norm and Jimmy Bloom of Norm Bloom and Son, Tom Kehoe of K&B Shellfish, Brian Harmon (Cape May Salts), Dale Parsons of Parsons Seafood, Bill and Lori Mayer of Clamdaddys, Pete McCarthy of Pete McCarthy Wholesale Clams, Johnny Shockley of Hoopers Island Aquaculture, Tal Petty of Hollywood Oyster Co. and the Croxtons of Rappahannock River Oyster Co..
Special thanks to Nancy Follini and Joe Gilbert of Briapatch Enterprises who shared product, reefer space, and a reefer truck; to Norm and Jimmy Bloom, who shared a mountain of Copps Island Oysters; to Connecticut Shellfish Co. manger Mike Dowie, who helped us coordinate product deliveries and lent us a reefer truck for the event; and to Robert Granfield for the use of his walk-in refrigerated trailer.
Check out the oyster menu.
Easy access to Commuter Rail. Check website for parking info and more! www.milfordoysterfestival.com
Links to other Events Calendars
World Aquaculture Society Calendar
National Shellfisheries Association Calendar