That’s right, one of the year’s largest fundraisers for VCU’s Oyster Shell Recycle Program takes place on October 22 and it’s bigger and better than ever. The annual Shell Raisers Shindig celebrates the bounty of Virginia with oysters from the eight Virginia oyster regions, dishes from some of the state’s top chefs, plus beer, wine and cider to wash it all down with.
I attended the event last year and had a great time—it takes place on the boardwalk overlooking the pond at Libbie Mill meaning there’s plenty of space and parking. This year there are more wines, chefs and oyster companies, meaning more to taste! Todd Janeski, director of the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program gave me a little preview of this year’s menu.
The Menu for the Shell Raiser’s Shindig
John Hoffman, Executive Chef of Keswick Hall: chamomile mushroom bisque with maple gastrique
Walter Bundy, Shagbark: J&W Seafood jumbo lump crab bisque with Edwards Virginia Smokehouse bacon
Patrick Willis, Executive Chef of Lemaire: J&W Seafood select fried oysters with Edwards Virginia Smokehouse country ham, pickles, and baguette
Andrew Manning, Longoven: Grilled squid with ham reduction beans
Joe Sparatta, Heritage and Southbound: TBD pasta (if it’s Joe’s homemade pasta, who cares what type it is? We know it will be delicious)
Mike Ledesma, new restaurant opening soon!: Filipino BBQ Autumn Olive Farms Pork skewers
Dale Reitzer, Acacia: Bayford Farms Hog Island clams with Edwards Virginia Smokehouse surry sausage
Brittany Anderson, Metzger and Brenner Pass: Autumn Olive Farms braised pork with seasonal vegetables
And, of course there can’t be a Shell Raiser’s Shindig without oysters! You’ll be able to taste:
Shooting Point Oyster Company Shooting Point Salts and Bullseye Oysters
Of course, we can’t forget libations. Wineries, breweries, and cideries on-site will include:
Garden Grove Brewing and Urban Winery, which will have a special oyster Rauchbier
Buy tickets to the Shell Raiser’s Shindig Online
Tickets cost $75 per person or $130 per couple and can be purchased here. Get yours before they sell out!
A little more about the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycle Program (VOSRP)
This public-private and nonprofit collaborative effort is dedicated to taking oyster shells destined for the trash and returning them to the Chesapeake Bay. Not only are oysters delicious, they filter more than 50 gallons of water per day, processing plankton and sediment that can cloud waterways. Oyster reefs provide habitats for blue crabs, red drum, and striped bass and help to mitigate storm-induced shoreline erosion. Each year the program collects more than 10,000 pounds of shells from 50 restaurants and 30 public drop-off locations. The shells are age-cured and bagged at the VCU Rice Rivers Center before being seeded with juvenile oysters and placed on sanctuary reefs near public and private harvest areas.