The myth about oysters is that they are good only during the months of September through April when the waters are cold. Season is the reason. Oysters are reproducing in the summer when temperatures are at their highest depleting their flavors resulting in a milky, thin, and flabby consistency. This is why oyster supplies greatly diminish in the summer. So while there is some truth to the R-Rule it’s a matter of choosing where you get your oysters during the designated months. Some oysters are not spawning at certain times in the summer, especially in cold, deep waters.
With advances in technology and transportation today’s restaurateurs and grocery stores can source from all over the world bringing you the tastiest oysters from the coldest waters in no time. Chefs should be trained to detect spawning oysters and to use reputable purveyors who won’t sell you bad oysters. Look for areas from the British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia when ordering oysters.
Summer Ice-British Columbia
Summer Ice oysters never spawn because they are farmed by suspension trays at 60ft below the water making it too cold for reproduction. This also protects them from sand and other predators making them a very clean oyster. Summer Ice Oysters are available all year long and are sweet, mild, and firm.
Colville Bay-Prince Edward Island
Colville Bay oysters are cultivated near the surface of the icy waters of the Atlantic and are available May through November. Characterized by their tear drop shape and jade color they have a medium brininess and are sweet and crunchy with an almost nutty flavor.
Bras D’Or-Nova Scotia
The Bras D’Or Lake combines with the Atlantic Ocean to create these high quality oysters. Available from Spring thaw to January these oysters are sweet and briny with a delicate flavor.