Apalachicola is noted for its seafood and has a diverse selection of restaurants that feature fresh, locally harvested shrimp, oysters, fish and crab. Apalachicola Bay oysters, our claim to fame, are prized for their buttery, briny, mellow flavor. Chefs and food lovers rank them as some of the purest, best tasting oysters in the world and they have graced the tables of fine restaurants throughout the country and the pages of magazines such as Saveur, Garden & Gun, and the celebrated Zingerman’s catalog. To learn more check out these interviews conducted by Amy Evans with the Southern Foodways Alliance and watch a short film by Joe York
The Apalachicola River and Bay meet in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to form one of the most unspoiled and productive estuaries in the country. This mixture of fresh and saltwater makes an ideal nursery for a diverse group of marine species that includes oysters, shrimp, crabs and a wide variety of fish.
Apalachicola Bay produces 90 % of Florida’s oysters and 10% of the nationwide supply. Over 2.6 million pounds of oyster meat is harvested annually. Most of our oyster beds are harvested by hand. This industry is sustainable and non-polluting. Oysters actually aid the bay in maintaining its purity. Oysters are filter feeders that can filter up to 24 liters of water each day. No other area in the U.S. offers the "wild harvest" oysters of this quality. Once consumed the oysters shells are recycled back into the bay where they are replanted for a new crop of oysters preserving the sea bottom and grasses. There are 7,000 acres of beds in the 210 square miles of the bay dedicated to oyster harvesting.
Apalachicola Bay is designated a Class II Shellfish Harvesting Area, one of the highest standards for water quality in the State of Florida. The waters of the bay are regularly tested for any type of harmful bacteria by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Consumer Services. The oyster industry is the most highly regulated food industry in the United States.
Apalachicola Bay oysters have a reputation among chefs across the US as being some of the finest tasting oysters available. They hold their flavor after cooking and are prized for their plump, meaty texture, mellow flavor and balanced salt content. They have a refreshing seaweed aroma and a deeply cupped shell. The Southern Foodways Alliance documented the culture and history of the Apalachicola Bay seafood industry via 20 oral histories that can be viewed at the Southern Foodways Alliance website.
Apalachicola Bay also ranks third in the state for its shrimp harvest. These wild caught shrimp are fresh, not farmed or processed. Blue crab, finfish and clams are also harvested here.