Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/16

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
6
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"culls," and are sold by the bushel. These are used in making the popular "stews" of the saloons; also, when opened, it is this sort that is sold by the quart for domestic use. The others are known as "count," and the restaurants serve them up as "fries," and on the half-shell, as raw. These are sold by the hundred.

After the harvest is finished, not a few oysters will yet remain on the beds. The grounds are then given up to the laborers who have worked them on hire. Under a new impulse these men go over the grounds again with tongs and dredge. They work on shares usually, returning to the owner of the beds one-half of the results, which makes a really handsome thing for the gleaners, whose work in this way lasts from two to three weeks, making three or four days a week, each man often clearing as his portion from four to five dollars a day. At any rate, such generally is the practice with its results at Keyport, N. J., where for many years the principle of the good old biblical rule, of not forgetting the gleaners, is almost religiously observed in the last gathering of this harvest of the sea.

local varieties.—It is generally conceded that the Northern oyster is superior to the Southern. Upon this understanding, and the fact that formerly the Southern oysters that were brought north were chiefly procured from Chesapeake Bay, and the favorite Northern natives were got around and near New York, the old oystermen used to speak in general terms of two kinds, the Southern and the Northern, which they designated as "Chesapeakes" and "York Bays." There are, however, a great many local names, which are supposed to indicate special excellences. All these northern edible oysters are of one species, Ostrea borealis. Some naturalists, however, claim that the Southern is different, and should be called Ostrea Virginiana. But for the plain reason that both varieties can any day be found in any oyster-bed in Long Island Sound, and indeed they seem to change by growth indiscriminately into each, a more rigid science would refer them all to the name given by Lister—Ostrea Virginiana. Yet, take them in the mass, and any experienced oysterman will tell the Southern from the Northern. The European oyster is called Ostrea edulis; but that it is sufficiently different to make a distinct species is far from certain. Experienced dealers will pick out the local varieties of the Northern article. Of these we have many names—such as the Keyport, City Island, Guilford, Blue Point, Rockaway, Saddle-Rock, Shrewsbury, etc. The Blue Point was for fifty years "the Knicker-bocker among oysters." It was raised chiefly in Great South Bay. This fine oyster had to yield on the appearance of the splendid Saddle-Rocks. This name is still given to all very large oysters, and generally to those taken in the East River. It is, however, no longer in existence. They were first brought to Fulton Market, New York, by an old negro named Henry Scott. The following, by our friend Dr. O. R. Willis, is authentic. It appeared in the New York Observer: