For many in these parts, a trip to the river (pronounced ri-vah’) means the Rappahannock River. A large tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, this wide waterway has seen its share of American history yet has remained almost exclusively rural and somehow under-developed. The lucky ones who own land along its banks are happy to keep its above-water beauty and underwater riches a secret.
For decades, the oyster population that our country’s first settlers discovered here have rapidly declined thanks in large part to runoff from the bordering farms.
Fortunately a determined few led by the current owners of the Rappahannock River Oyster Company, cousins trying to save their struggling family business, are independently salvaging the local oyster industry and, in the process, improving the health of the Bay.
People like Jim Carleton (and soon Ellen) are jumping on the oyster bandwagon. Not only are they helping to save the Bay, they are raising dinner for a pittance. And afterwards, their discarded shells can be used for landscaping.
Recently we hauled out these babies in their growing cage at jBr’s home near the mouth of the Bay. Look who stowed away
~ a beautiful blue crab. Too little yet to eat, one day we will find him in this crab pot sized perfectly for a crab cake sandwich.
Riches revealed at summer’s end. I hope my river friends won’t be too upset that I divulged their lovely secret.
The Rappahannock River is too precious a treasure not to share.