Steve Vilnit works for a fishery department in Maryland. Not the sort of work you typically associate with social media. But a photo he tweeted showing what oysters do to the water they live in got a massive response. And it even became a fun and teachable moment.
People were like, Whaaaaa...
Some were thinking, What sort of wizardry IS THIS!?
Others were kinda grossed out.
But Steve was there with some pearls of wisdom.
As the photo made its rounds, the curiosity grew stronger. These folks had never really considered WTF they've been eating all this time.
Zinc boosts our immune health and does a lot of other cool stuff. Protein is an essential component of every cell in our bodies and helps us with tissue repair. Here's a list of some of the other health benefits of oysters.
As it turns out, oysters really are a "Best Choice" for sustainable seafood. But you definitely want to be mindful of where they come from.
Then the conversation dove a little deeper.
And Steve was swimming right alongside 'em.
The more the questions poured in, the more I started to look at oysters with, well, endearment.
Here's an article supporting that claim. And while I'm sure there's plenty more to learn (and plenty I'll never understand), we do know that oysters are effective for water denitrification. Too much nitrogen makes aquatic plants grow too big, too fast. That can be dangerous for fish and other underwater creatures.
As for us terrestrial types, beyond the general unsightliness and inconvenience of algae infestations, excess nitrogen in our drinking water can slow the movement of oxygen in our bloodstreams, which is particularly bad for pregnant ladies, babies, and young livestock.
Finally, when the questioning got a little beyond Steve's expertise, he did exactly what he was supposed to do: BE HONEST.
(I'll follow Steve's lead here and not even try.)
Today, I have a much deeper respect for the power of the oyster and its role in the environment. And I'm obviously not the only one.
That said, I'm really craving some oysters. And next time I'm in Maryland, I'll know who to call for a trip to the raw bar.