Shuck ‘em! Virginia’s Governor, Terry McAuliffe, has declared November Virginia Oyster Month. So, take a seat all you mustachioed and bearded gents because this November our state has bigger (shell)fish to fry.
Bobby Jones, from our design team, is the creator of New Ravenna’s handcrafted oyster plates. Each piece, which incorporates both stone and glass, is one of a kind.
“I was inspired by antique oyster plates from the 19th century,” Bobby explains, “It became very fashionable to serve oysters during the Victorian era. These ornate plates, designed with the sole purpose of holding oysters, added an element of ceremony to the consumption of this delicacy.”
If all this talk of oysters gets your belly rumbling, come and visit us on Virginia’s Eastern Shore where it seems like there’s an oyster roast just about every other weekend. Clearly, we have a lot to celebrate living here on the water.
New Ravenna’s oyster plates are a new take on tradition. Like all of our mosaics, these plates are as utilitarian as they are decorative. They offer a kind of reverence of the past, while also serve as a representation of the present day. Designs as fresh as the oysters that will be served on them. Our oyster plates are not merely dinnerware, in the same sense that oysters are more than just food. It is a ritual celebration for special occasions. Up and down the coastline, all throughout the year, people, local or not, gather together to feast on oysters.
Not only do they reflect our past and present, here in Virginia, oysters are also are future. Not only are locals bonding over shellfish, they are simultaneously building a booming international industry. According to a study conducted in 2012 by the Shellfish Growers of Virginia, “28,100,000 individual market-size cultured oysters sold in 2012 (with a) farm gate value of $9,500,000.” In the years since, Virginia’s shellfish industry as grown along with these numbers. Yet, the beneficially impact oysters have on the environment may surpass the financial gains, “For every 1000 market-size cultured oysters harvested, 1.16 pounds of nitrogen and 0.35 pounds of phosphorus are removed from the water.” This is because oysters naturally filter the water they inhabit, leaving it cleaner than it was before the shellfish were introduced. This article from Jessica Sabbath, “Rebirth on the Bay” interviews employees from Cherrystone Aqua Farms in Cheriton, only 20 minutes south of New Ravenna’s headquarters in Exmore, VA and is definitely worth a read.
New Ravenna is a business that is local yet simultaneously caters to an international clientele. In those similarities, we celebrate the success and beneficial impact of our neighbors on the Eastern Shore and fellow Virginia natives in the booming shellfish industry. Whether you like them deep fried or on the half shell, Virginia has it.
Oesterling, Michael. “About the Industry.” Shellfish Growers of Virginia
Quinlan, M.K.. “The Art of Oyster Plate Collecting.” Garden & Gun
Sabbath, Jessica. “Rebirth on the Bay.” Virginia Business