Columbia Free Times

Eat Some Oysters

By Eva Moore
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 |
Photo by Jonathan Sharpe
There aren’t many traditional foods that are at their peak in midwinter. But oysters are a notable exception. You have a few chances to eat your fill this weekend, beginning right here in landlocked Columbia.

Now, I love oysters of all sorts, raw or roasted, but I’m no expert. But according to Free Times’ in-house oyster expert, staff writer Porter Barron Jr., South Carolina oysters are brinier and more delicious than other oysters. But because they often grow in clusters rather than as single oysters, they’re sometimes passed over in favor of oysters from elsewhere, most notably the Gulf Coast.

The Farm to Table Event Co. hosts an Oyster and Pig Roast at City Roots this Saturday, Jan. 25. Sustainable local seafood company Our Local Catch is bringing the oysters in from Bulls Bay, a major oyster ground north of Charleston (near Awendaw and McClellanville, if you’re into specifics). There’ll also be a slow-cooked Heritage Farms pig from North Carolina. Your $40 ticket gets you oysters, pork and an array of sides including slow-cooked greens, smoked cheddar-jalapeño mac and cheese, cole slaw, pimento cheese, baked beans and cornbread. There’ll be a cash bar — and with Westbrook Brewing as a co-sponsor, the beer should be excellent. Driscoll would like to make the roast an annual event.

The oyster roast and pig pickin’ runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday at City Roots, 1005 Airport Blvd. in Rosewood. Tickets are only available in advance; visit to buy them.

If you’re looking for contrast, the Lowcountry Oyster Festival doesn’t serve local oysters, but it serves a ton of them. Or 40 tons, rather: Last year, attendees consumed 80,000 pounds of oysters. Festival organizers told Charleston Scene last year there simply aren’t enough local oysters in South Carolina to meet their needs, so two semi trucks haul oysters in from the Texas gulf coast for the event. The Charleston Restaurant Association hosts the event at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant this Sunday, Jan. 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A $20 ticket ($25 at the gate) gets you in the plantation gates; you then use food tickets to buy food and drinks — and oysters. Visit to buy tickets.

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