Norwalk Connecticut Oysters Oyster Town

Oysters on the half shell, Oyster Casino, Oyster stew, Scalloped Oysters. No matter what your favorite oyster dish is, you can probably find it at one of the many restaurants in Norwalk, Connecticut. The people of Norwalk have been preparing, eating, serving, and selling Oysters for almost two hundred years.

Early settlers to the East Coast got much of their food from the sea. Fish, clams, and oysters. Norwalk soon discovered that it had an abundance of Oyster beds. As the city began to grow, Oysters became it main industry. The gardening and farming of Oysters, not only fed the early settlers, but has over the centuries provided jobs for it’s citizens and helped the city to grow.

In the 1800’s Norwalk became the largest Oyster producer in Connecticut, and its industry was thriving it. People began coming to this sleepy little village to get jobs in the Oystering industry. By 1880, Norwalk had the largest fleet of steam driven Oyster Ships in the world, and Norwalk had been given the unofficial nickname of Oyster town.

The 20th and 21st century saw other lucrative businesses such as Pepperidge Farms, and Xerox make their homes in Norwalk, but the Oyster trade remained a part of this cities industry and heritage.

It is the home of Hillard Bloom Selfish Company, the largest suppliers of Oysters in the United States, and one of two working Shellfish farms in Norwalk. Hillard Bloom not only sells Oysters to local businesses but sells them to wholesalers who then transports them all over the country.

Norwalk continues to preserve its nickname of Oyster town, by holding an annual three day Oyster festival every September. This festival is more like a state fair or a Carnival than the typical town festival. They have a variety of activities, such as rides, games, arts and craft shows, And harbor cruises. There are International food courts, and of course Oystering exhibits, chronologically showing the history of Oystering in Norwalk.

No Oyster festival would be complete though without Oysters and Norwalk’s festival has these too. Masses and masses of them, for the ninety thousand people who attend the festival each each to sample and enjoy.

This festival alone contributes five million dollars to the local economy over a three day period each year.

As you can see, Norwalk was not just given the name Oyster town, it earned it. Nature may have given the town its abundance of Oysters, but it was the town itself who turned this food source into a thriving industry and preserves the nickname of Oyster town today.