April 25, 2019 12:43 am
Updated: April 25, 2019 1:29 am

Osoyoos Oyster Fest prepares to shuck 10,000 shellfish


It may not be a food that grows in the Okanagan, but some believe local wine is perfect for oysters.

“I think with the wines we make here in the South Okanagan and the Okanagan in general, especially a lot of the nice, crisp, acidic whites. They go really nicely with oysters,” Tinhorn Creek’s Miradoro restaurant chef Jeff Van Geest said.

Van Geest prepared a three-course, oyster-themed meal for dozens who came out for the first event of the 2019 Osoyoos Oyster Festival on Wednesday night at the Oliver winery.

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“We start with fresh-shucked oysters then we create two or three dishes with oysters in them and then a dessert that doesn’t have oysters in it, thankfully, but usually something nice and fresh, which is a nice way to finish a seafood meal,” he said.

Events are planned for venues around the South Okanagan through Apr. 28.

“No other event in the region offers so many opportunities to indulge in premium oysters from around the world, paired with the award-winning wines, beers, ciders and spirits for which the Okanagan is internationally renowned,” organizers said.

Annual festival participant Jonathan and Anne-Marie Crofts, the owners of Codfather’s Seafood in Kelowna, are now directing the Oyster Festival, having taken over from Destination Osoyoos.

Jonathan Crofts helped shuck 400 oysters at the Oliver kick-off dinner.

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“Over the week, we’ll probably shuck in excess of 10,000 oysters,” Crofts said.

The oysters brought in for the event come from both the east and west coast of North America and some from the UK.

“One year we even got New Zealand Bluff oysters which was an absolute treat,” Crofts said.

Bluff oysters, from the tiny town of Bluff, New Zealand, are said to be the best of the bivalves, according to oyster experts.

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Oysters are one of the most sustainable foods on the planet, according to Crofts.

“All they do is hang out in sea water converting plankton into protein for us. You can enjoy them guilt-free. And they’re also extremely healthy: lots of zinc, lots of iron, almost pure protein. So, very, very good for you,” he said.

Upwards of 1,000 people are expected at the events.


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