Top 10 Reasons Consociate Loves Tommy Leggett (and oysters)
If you’ve paid any attention to the Consociate Facebook page or our Instagram feed lately, you’ve likely seen us commenting on and enjoying oysters. There’s no doubt about it. We love them. A lot. And for a whole host of reasons…which we’ve narrowed down to this top 10 list.
- The venerable Tommy Leggett. Nearly every oyster we eat comes from Tommy Leggett of Chessie Seafood and Aquafarms. His farm is less than a half mile from the very site General Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown to General George Washington in 1781 ending the American Revolution, and only five miles downstream from the site where Captain John Smith’s life was saved in 1608 by Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, Chief of the powerful Algonquin Confederacy of Native Americans that dominated Virginia prior to the European settlement of North America. Historically, the York River contained oyster reefs that the first colonists to Virginia used as a vital food source. Today, oysters aren’t as plentiful, but Tommy is working hard, and using innovative farming techniques, to help bring back this incredible species not only for us all to enjoy, but to also save the Bay’s waters. More on that later! And seriously…how can you not LOVE these recent pictures of Tommy above by Sara Harris Photography at Waypoint Seafood and Grill?
- Buck a Shuck. Our friends at Waypoint Seafood and Grill are equal oyster lovers. So much so that every Thursday they feature this incredible species as a bar special, offering them for $1 an oyster. The best part? Every Thursday Tommy Leggett delivers the freshest oysters to Waypoint and then saddles up to the bar himself to enjoy his harvest and talk with anyone who wants to know more about oysters.
- PEACE LOVE OYSTERS. It’s true. Oysters are considered an aphrodisiac for its consumers. Oysters also show a lot of love to the Chesapeake Bay by filtering out the gunky stuff, cleaning the waters that surround the hometown of Consociate that are many of our playgrounds in the summer. Paddle boarding, beaching and boating, anyone? PEACE LOVE OYSTERS means so much more, though. It’s the best selling t-shirt design of our friends at Be the Bay. Be the Bay sells casual apparel that features life on the Chesapeake Bay and donates a portion of its profits to Bay restoration projects. In 2012 and 2013 those donations went to programs to help continuing building up the health of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. Talk about peace and love. Note to self…must get Tommy Leggett one of these t-shirts!
- So many recipes. So little time. We’ve roasted them (thanks, Phillips Energy, for always providing the propane we need for our grills). We’ve added them to cornbread dressing (thank you, Chef Kyle, from Waypoint Seafood and Grill, for that amazing recipe), and we’ve shucked them and just downed them raw. Check out these many ways to prepare oysters, thanks to Tommy Leggett. And yes…you can put them in the microwave.
- Pearls. Need we say more, ladies?
- The economy. Tommy Leggett is not alone. He’s among a group of elite men and women who have made their living on the water. Oyster populations have dwindled in recent decades, but as they make a comeback, so can the watermen who have, in the Tidewater, Virginia region, been labeled as endangered as the species they once harvested. Our friends at Chesapeake Marine Training Institute work to train fishermen, professional mariners and recreational boaters to be safe on the water…and we’re hoping that as oysters and other water species, like the blue crab, make stronger comebacks, so will many jobs.
- Like terroir, which describes the way the land will alter the taste of a grape for wine, the water alters the taste of an oyster. The saltier the water, the saltier the oyster. It’s that simple. And Merroir, an oyster tasting spot on the banks of the Rappahannock River, capitalizes on this phenomenon. It’s a favorite spot of Consociate. Picnic tables overlooking the water. Fresh oysters. Cold beer. What could be better?
- The boathouse at the Inn at Warner Hall. This plantation on the banks of the Severn River is now one of the premier bed and breakfasts on the East Coast. Wander down from the manor house to its boat house and sit awhile. Walk out onto the dock at low tide and look down and you’ll see the wild oysters growing, well, wildly. This spot, where the stars at night seem as bright as the sun and the quiet and stillness of the meadow fields leading to the water create the utmost relaxation needed for creative juices to flow, is quite simply one of our favorite spots on earth.
- Severn…the Consociate office dog. No…she doesn’t eat oysters. But she does swim. A lot. Oysters clean the water that Severn loves so much and for that reason…we love oysters.
- The Urbanna Oyster Festival. The oyster, as you might imagine, is the star of the show and this festival is the star of our fall events. Urbanna, located a short drive from the Consociate offices, is home to many businesses we love – Lowe Tide boutique and Bethpage Campground, to name a few.