Wintering Oysters in the Root Cellar
Surviving a Cold Cape Cod winter
Oysters go dormant during winter because water temperatures can stay below freezing for weeks on end. However, Eastern oysters can survive many months in a cold, humid ambient environment, so many Wellfleet Oyster farmers store their crop out of the water during the coldest months of the year.
In his over-wintering process, local Welfleetian oysterman Jim O'Connell follows a traditional method called "pitting," in which he stores his oysters underground. Several years ago, O’Connell joined radio journalist Elspeth Hay to chat with her about his oyster storage practice for her Local Food Report program on WCAI, a Cape Cod NPR station.
Listen here to Jim and Elspeth and learn more about how oysters can survive - and thrive - during a cold Cape Cod winter.