Damariscotta River Oyster Celebration to benefit the Darling Marine Center on June 24

Attention oyster lovers! The sea farmers of the Damariscotta River will host a celebration of the region’s finest farmed oysters on Saturday, June 24.

The Damariscotta River Oyster Celebration will take place at the Darrows Barn in Damariscotta. Doors open at 12 p.m. and the event wraps up at 3 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will benefit student researchers at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole.

The Celebration is an opportunity to sample the very freshest oysters grown in the Damariscotta River, meet the farmers, shuck an oyster, and learn about the marine environment.

At 1 p.m. Bill Mook of Mook Sea Farm will extend a welcome and talk about the challenges of farming oysters in a changing ocean.

Heather Leslie, Director of the Darling Marine Center, will speak about collaborative research efforts that provide career training for undergraduate and graduate students interested in aquaculture.

Tips for buying and eating oysters will be shared by Ryan McPherson, Glidden Point Oyster Farms.

Following these brief presentations, the oyster farmers will take the stage for a Q&A session with Dana Morse, Maine Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension, and Larry Mayer of the DMC. Pose your questions about oysters, sea farming, ocean science, and education.

Maine’s half-shell oyster industry was spawned at the Darling Marine Center. In the 1970s, graduate students and technicians working with Herb Hidu developed techniques for growing oysters in the clean, cold, salty waters of the Damariscotta River. Those enterprising individuals went on to start the first oyster farms in Maine.

The collaboration continues. Today, sea farmers and scientists are working together to understand the changing ocean environment and adapt practices to keep their businesses vital.

All your favorite farms from the Damariscotta River will be on hand: Mook Sea Farm, Pemaquid Oyster Company, Glidden Point Oyster Farms, Muscongus Bay Aquaculture, Inc., Norumbega Oyster, Inc., Dodge Cove Marine Farm, and Otter Cove Farms.

The Damariscotta River Association, a sponsor of the event, will offer short, guided hikes from the Darrows Barn to the Whaleback Shell Midden. Explore one of the largest oyster shell mounds in the Northeast, and take in the view of what remains of the largest extant midden north of Georgia.

Tickets are $25 and get you 2 beverages and 6 oysters.  They can be purchased at the Walpole Barn (State Route 129, Walpole), Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Store (Main Street, Damariscotta) and online at EventBrite.com. They will also be available at the door, cash only.

Additional oysters and beverages will be available for sale – cash only – at the event.  If you want to take oysters home, please bring a small cooler. Ice will be provided.

Oyster lovers may also want to join the Maine Farmland Trust’s Damariscotta River tour earlier in the day. For more information and to purchase tickets for the tour, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org/event/harvesting-the-river.