NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Some Louisiana oysters have gone high tech. South Louisiana fishermen are raising them vertically in baskets off the coast of Grand Isle, with an unbelievable flavor that leaves people wanting more.
"Now we're getting premium Gulf oysters out of the same waters that we always have, but the process has changed," said Restaurant Borgne Chef Brian Landry."The typical Gulf oyster is grown on the sea floor and Mother Nature does all the work. The way these oysters are raised is in columns, and the cages can be moved in and out of the water into different temperatures and salinity which allows the oysters to be hand selected."
The magic happens in Caminada Bay. Jules Melancon is a fourth-generation oysterman.
"I got about 325 cages in the bay," he said. I'm selling Caminada Bay oysters."
Oyster spat start the growing process in a lab, and then are transferred to cages where they can be manipulated throughout their growth. It takes these oysters about two years to reach an edible size, which is much faster than the traditional oyster. But compared to the $1.50 for the ones raised on the sea floor, Landry says you'll pay double for the new kind.
Landry says the LSU Ag Center and Auburn University are helping oyster farmers to develop the new technology.
Diner Mark Frischhertz was impressed.
"Wow, it's like tasting the salt - it hits your tongue," he said. "It's like taking a bite of the ocean."
Landry says this will give oyster fishermen more choices.
"Because of things like freshwater diversion, we may not grow oysters in all the areas we traditionally have. Because of this technology, we may be able to find new growing zones with higher salinity levels," he said.