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See where the oyster appellations of the South are on this map

Jim Gossen of Louisiana Foods has just produced the following maps, showing the "appellations" for Southern coast oysters. Americans are used to eating oysters produced in named local waters from the Northeast (think Narragansett, for example) and the Pacific Northwest (think Fanny Bay in BC) and even Florida (think Apalachicola). But Gulf oysters have usually been sold as… Gulf oysters. Producers can charge more if their oysters have particular, local flavors (sometimes called "merroir," after the "terroir" used by wine producers). Gossen argues that the nooks and crannies along the Gulf DO produce oysters with unique flavor profiles, and after attending a tasting near Mobile a couple of weeks ago (Gulf oysters versus East Coast beauties) it was obvious he's right. The maps show lots of appellations in Texas, some in Louisiana, a sprinkling in Alabama—but more to come, and that's good news for sustainability and the oyster farmers who work those waters. Gossen received a Food Hero award from Cooking Light in November for his campaigns on behalf of Gulf seafood producers.—Scott Mowbray