EASTON — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot presented a certification of recognition to the Tidewater Inn Friday, Oct. 11, for its oyster recycling efforts.
Tidewater Inn general manager Lauren Catterton and executive chef Daniel Pochron were recognized for their efforts in recycling oyster shells to help grow more oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, “which serve as a natural filters and are critical to ensuring a healthier Bay. With special appreciation for your unwavering commitment to provide a first-class dining experience while also being environmental stewards of (the) state.”
Recycled shells used by aqua farms stimulate oyster production and promote a cleaner Chesapeake Bay, while individuals and businesses can claim the Oyster Shell Recycling Tax Credit of up to $1,500 a year.
“Oyster shells are the ideal breeding grounds for new, young oysters, so if we can expand the current population of adult oysters, we will get a cleaner Bay and a better economy,” Franchot said. “People are going to want to come and see the Chesapeake Bay, and enjoy it and eat wonderful oysters. So more oysters, they get tax credits for turning the shells in and get a cleaner Bay because these oysters filter out a lot of the nutrients and algae that create dead zones in the Bay.”
The Tidewater Inn carries oysters on its menu all year long, but Catterton said fall is the busiest time of the year. In fact, the inn have a whole section on the menu that focuses on oysters during the season.
“We also have our oyster brawl on the Saturday of the Waterfowl Festival that features oysters in every which way possible,” Catterton said. “During this season and all year round, it’s heavy in our banquet menu, as well. We certainly recognize the preservation of oyster shells and the preservation of our nature and everything is really important, and we are just excited to do what we can.”
Catterton said she owes the oyster recycling efforts to Pochron, who instilled upon staff members, including bartenders, servers and banquet managers, the importance of recycling. Every event at the Tidewater Inn where oysters are served involves buckets in the kitchen area waiting for the oyster shells.
On Saturday nights, Pochron will go into the trash to see if any oyster shells were disposed accidentally. If they are, he will pick them out, Catterton siad.
In the future, Catterton hopes to see the oyster population grow, raising awareness and educating the community about the importance of oyster recycling.
“I give all of the credit to him. He is in charge of that and is the main preservation of the Tidewater,” Catterton said.
Government officials including Easton Mayor Robert Willey, Easton Town Councilmen Al Silverstein and Ronald Engle; Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot; Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore; and U.S. Rep Andy Harris, R-Md-1st, also were in attendance.
“We are proud to say that Tidewater is one of our members, a great downtown area and a keystone in downtown Easton, and it is wonderful to be able to recognize,” Silverstein said.