For Immediate Release: Contact:
Tara Shah NY/ NJ BAYKEEPER
Jay Cosgrove Bahrs Landing
NY/NJ Baykeeper Oyster Stew Will be Launched with Much Fanfare
Bahrs Restaurant and NY/NJ Baykeeper Host Tasting Reception on
NY/NJ Baykeeper Oyster Stew will receive its official product launch at a tasting reception at Bahrs Landing Restaurant this month. Friends, supporters and volunteers of Baykeeper; representatives from local supermarkets who will be carrying the stew, regional politicians and NJDEP staff have all been invited to attend. The by-invitation-only tasting reception will be held at Bahrs Landing Restaurant and Marina, 2 Bay Ave., Highlands, NJ, January 22nd at 4:00 pm. The media is invited to attend.
NY/NJ Baykeeper Oyster Stew was developed as a joint project between Jay Cosgrove -- fourth generation owner of Bahrs Landing Restaurant and founder of Sandy Hook Soups Ltd. -- and the NY/NJ Baykeeper, a nonprofit environmental group that has been protecting the Hudson-Raritan Estuary since 1990. 10% of all proceeds from the stew will be donated to Baykeeper towards its innovative Oyster Restoration Program. The stew will be available in February.
“I¹ve been working on the recipe for this classic oyster stew recipe for more than a year,” says entrepreneur Cosgrove, who has also marketed clam chowder and lobster bisque products. “I want to become known as the Ben & Jerrys of seafood soups,” he jokes.
“The stew has a rich flavor that will put anyone in a maritime mood. It’s the ultimate comfort food.” Cosgrove adds. It is made from domestic oysters, though not oysters harvested from the Hudson-Raritan Bay. “Unfortunately, our local waters are not clean enough for that yet. But if Baykeeper and its oyster gardening volunteers keep up the good work of cleaning up and restoring our waterways, then someday I will be able to buy oysters from our own Bay, just like my great grandparents did at Bahrs Landing when the
restaurant opened back in 1916.”
“Baykeeper has been working on restoring oyster reefs in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary for the last six years because of their extraordinary benefits to ecosystem health,” says NY/NJ Baykeeper Andy Willner. “The oyster gardening program has been a huge success, with hundreds of volunteer participants and many thousand oysters restored to new beds all around the Estuary. It’s a model program of non-profit, community, and government cooperation.”
The label on the new oyster stew will include the Baykeeper name, the group’s mission statement, and a brief description of its Oyster Restoration Program. “This is a really compelling project”, adds Baykeeper Oyster Restoration Program Manager Debbie Dalton. “The oyster stew is a delicious way to educate people about the Bay. It makes people aware of the Estuary, and of Baykeeper¹s efforts to protect it. And of course, it will bring money to our restoration effort.”
“Jay Cosgrove makes the connection,” says Baykeeper Associate Tara Shah. “In March of 2003, he came to us and asked if we wanted to partner with him in launching his new oyster stew. It was a very generous offer and the teaming up of local business with a regional group like Baykeeper makes good sense. It not only benefits the Bay, but also strengthens the local community. After all, the more Baykeeper oyster stew people eat, the stronger our oyster restoration program becomes, the healthier the Bay becomes, and the more that helps local tourism and benefits local business.”
Oysters are vital to the ecological health of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary. Oyster reefs once covered 350 square miles of Estuary, from Sandy Hook, NJ, north as far up as Ossining, NY, in Raritan Bay, the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, the Arthur Kill and Newark Bay. Like coral reefs, oyster reefs
provide habitat for commercially and recreationally important fish, such as striped bass and summer flounder, and for other marine organisms. Oysters also aid the ecosystem, acting as a natural water filter; as they feed they remove suspended sediments and algae from the water. This filtering improves
water clarity and enhances conditions for underwater grasses to grow. Unfortunately, the oyster population fell dramatically after 1900, due to Over-harvesting, pollution, disease and siltation. As the newly restored
oysters reproduce, it is hoped that the Hudson-Raritan Estuary, with this key species restored, will become healthier and more robust.
The NY/NJ Baykeeper has been a guardian of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary since 1990.