Eat more shellfish. Your mother might not have told you that, but she could have, at least on the Vineyard. Here shellfish is a readily-available and abundant source of inexpensive protein. You can buy it at your favorite fish market or go get it yourself in your favorite pond (shellfish permit required). And if you don’t eat shellfish you can still love them. These filter feeders, especially oysters, are known for their ability to remove pollutants such as nitrogen from saltwater ponds.
But even natural abundance can use a boost and that’s where the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group comes in. For more than thirty years the shellfish group has been growing seed clams, oysters and scallops in its modest hatchery on the Lagoon Pond in Vineyard Haven. Millions of them. When they are big enough the shellfish group distributes the baby shellfish to Island towns to plant in the ponds and help natural shellfish populations remain abundant.
Tomorrow night the shellfish group holds its second annual shellfish extravaganza, a fundraiser for this important nonprofit. From seven to ten at the Chilmark Community Center there will be plenty of freshly-shucked oysters and clams for a dollar apiece and dancing to Johnny Hoy and the Shellfish — sorry, meant to say Bluefish.
If you can’t go, consider sending a donation to the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group. The address is P.O. Box 1552, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Your mother would approve.