The Tasty 8

Virginia’s Oyster Trail adds eighth region. 

Here in Virginia, we take our oysters seriously. The Old Dominion produces more farm-raised oysters than any other state on the East Coast. In 2015, 135.6 million single oysters were planted, which represented a 27 percent increase from 2014. At a value of $16 million, it’s clear why oysters mean so much to Virginians. 

To highlight this industry that, thanks to so many dedicated watermen, today is booming, Gov. McAuliffe established the Virginia Oyster Trail in 2015—a network of the state’s oyster purveyors, restaurants and raw bars as well as options for lodging, dining, tours, art venues and more.

And if you’re planning a fall trip along the Virginia Oyster Trail, your list of spots to stop in on just got a little longer. Last summer, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore announced that the Tangier/Middle Bay Region has been declared the Commonwealth’s eighth official oyster region.

Oyster lovers know it’s the water the bivalves are raised in that give them their distinct flavor profile. Here’s a look at how oysters in the eighth region compare to the other seven:

Region 1 Seaside: Strong brininess right upfront with a creamy, buttery finish

Region 2 Upper Bay Eastern Shore: Not too sweet, not too salty; known as the classic Virginia Bay oyster

Region 3 Lower Bay Eastern Shore: Salty and creamy with a light sweetness

Region 4 Upper Bay Western Shore: Sweet with very little brine and a light creaminess

Region 5 Middle Bay Western Shore: Mildly salty with distinct buttery flavor  

Region 6 Lower Bay Western Shore: Starts out lightly salty, finishes with sweetness

Region 7 Tidewater: Equal parts sweet, salty and smooth

Region 8 Tangier/Middle Chesapeake Bay: Traditional flavor, equally sweet and salty with a savory finish

For more information about Virginia’s Oyster Trail, go to

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