The walrus and the governor

Published 9:08 pm Monday, August 25, 2014

Terry McAuliffe is hardly the first Virginia governor to declare oysters harvested from the Nansemond River to be of superior quality. In fact, the region’s oysters have been a celebrated Virginia delicacy since long before Europeans landed on the shores of the New World, and they’ve been a staple of feasts by Virginia leaders from the time of Powhatan right up through the present.

Still, when Virginia’s current governor stood beneath a tent on the grounds of the Executive Mansion on Tuesday and tipped a shell to his mouth, his comment about the Suffolk-bred bivalve confirmed what every aficionado already knew: “That’s a good oyster.”

Ben Johnson and Billy Moore of Johnson and Sons Seafood in Eclipse had the honor of representing Tidewater in the governor’s launch party for the Virginia Oyster Trail, a new map guiding folks to the state’s seven premier oyster regions. Though we confess to lacking complete objectivity on the topic, we’d have to say Tidewater ranks highest among those regions, and the fact that Suffolk was chosen to represent the best of the best is high praise, indeed.

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Folks at the celebration dined on great oysters and specially paired wines from all around the commonwealth. We can only wish the good governor had thought to open the festivities with an appropriate snippet of poetry by Lewis Carroll. Since he did not, we will:

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,

“Is what we chiefly need:

Pepper and vinegar besides

Are very good indeed–

Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,

We can begin to feed.”

— The Walrus and the Carpenter