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Oysters: a tasty history!


oyster Do you know that oysters are not only delicious but good for you?

These tender mollusks pack a punch with nutrients which result in health benefits including weight loss, boost metabolic activity, increase tissue repair, lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve immune function. But wait there is more. Oysters have long been known as an aphrodisiac and who couldn’t use a little more love?

And did you know that Ladysmith area is considered the “cradle” of oysters?

Our harbour is home to two seafood producers, Timothy Oysters and Limberis Seafood. Both have long and colourful roots in Ladysmith history.

“The Cradle of the Oyster Industry in British Columbia” – this is the designa­tion given to Ladysmith Harbour for it was here, that the immigrant Japanese oyster spawned and spread throughout the Strait of Georgia and the Gulf Islands.

Historically, Ladysmith has always been an oyster growing area with re­cords going back to 1884.

The oyster growers of the day wondered if the Japanese oyster would grow in our waters and as a result the first Japanese oysters – renamed Pacific Oysters during WW II were planted on the flats at the head of the harbour.

In 1926 the oysters were imported from Japan. Along with them came the Manila clam.

Today, clams are a mainstay of Limberis Seafood along with the oysters. From nine oyster producers there are only two left — Timothy Oysters and Limberis. Ladysmith, once known as Oyster Harbour can be proud of its bivalve history.

So if you have a hankering for a tasty bite of local lore, here are a number of restaurants that serve up oysters.

The Crow & Gate Pub serves locally harvested by Timothy’s Oyster Stew with a roll and my personal favourite Fresh Pan-Fried Oyster Pub Plate with roll, potato salad and green salad served with house tartar sauce.

You will also find oysters at Chakalaka, pan-fried, served with homemade cocktail sauce.

Oyster Bay Cafe, located inside the Welcome Centre at Ladysmith Community Marina, lives up to its name with Oyster Sliders, breaded with Phillips IPA beer batter, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and spicy remoulade on 3 grilled slider buns.

You will also find oysters at Timberland Pub as an appie, or a full dinner.

The Bold Knight is offering oysters fresh and raw at a special “buck a shuck.”

And how does Leo Limberis, oyster producer, like his oysters? Here is his favourite way to serve them.

Deb’s Delicious Baked North Cove Oysters

Prepare a muffin tin with each cup containing a teaspoon of olive oil and one oyster. Cover the oysters with a spoonful of salsa and feta cheese, topping each with parmesan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 20 minutes or until golden brown.

“Once you have them like this,” he says, ‘you won’t want them any other way.”

Whatever way you like them, check out your local restaurants or stop by and pick up a tub of oysters and get cooking!

 Source: Ladysmith 100 Years.

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