Peaches for oysters

If you’ve ever heard the saying – “the best defense is a good offense” – then you know exactly what I’m thinking when I say we should boycott Georgia Peaches.

Yes, it’s the start of summer.

And yes, we’re starting to see the first of the seasons showing up on local grocer shelves everywhere .

And yes, they are nectar-like in their succulent sweetness.

Not that I would know … because, as I said, I am boycotting them.
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But it’s come to a point sometimes in life when the bureaucratic machinery needs outside help.

That’s when market forces need to kick in.

If Georgia takes a hit at our beloved Apalachicola oyster, shouldn’t Floridians take proper reciprocal measures with regard to the Georgia Peach.

No hot peach crisp, or peach pie slices served with a side of vanilla ice cream (or whip cream), or peach cobbler served piping hot out of the oven … not if you’re an honorable Floridian.

It’s a sacrifice I am willing to make, not only because of my avowed advocacy for Florida watersheds and downstream estuairies, but also because I have strong family ties to the Apalachicola bi-valve, spanning back generations.

No, I’m not a Native Floridian.

But I did have a great Uncle Shucks, the oldest brother of my maternal grandfather after whom I was named. I can’t help think that Uncle Shucks got his name for his ability to shuck oysters.

Over the years it’s been sort of a family tradition during the holidays: I have traveled many a harrowing trip through snow-powdered and ice-slickened highways of the northeast, white knuckled hands glued to the steering wheel from start to end, in a manic quest to make it home (safely) for the holidays to, among other things, shuck a barrel of oysters, kept chilled between “shucking sessions” out in the open air on the back porch (That’s what use northerners call a “Lanai”.)

Slurp them down raw, load them heavy with horse radish, cook them on the grill, broil them in the oven: you name it we tried it. Until that bushel barrel was gone.

In fact, the most dangerous part of the trip was never the drive, no matter how ice-bound the asphalt; but rather the constant threat of inflicting deep finger wounds in the process of trying to pry open those oysters with the shucking knife.

But once you cracked that nut, you couldn’t eat one without eating a dozen.

That’s just the rules.

And sure, we were on the banks of the Chesapeake, and back in the day when the tradition began, I’m sure that bushel barrel were 100 percent Chesapeake natives. But these days, those oysters, or a good portion of them, are coming out of the Apalachicola.

Apalachicola is the Oyster Basket of America no different than the Midwest is the Bread Basket to the World.

In any event: I’m not trying to impose trade barriers to interstate commerce, and no, I don’t want those peaches rotting on the store shelves. (Eat them if you absolutely have to). . .

I just want my Apalachicola oysters.

Uncle Shucks would have wanted it that way.

. . .

Stay tuned to The South Florida Watershed Journal for fresh data on the Apalachicola: not quite fresh oysters. But isn’t the rule you should only eat oysters in months with “Rs” in them: SeptemeR, OctobeR, DecembeR, JanuaRy, FebRuary, MaRch, and ApRil.

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