Coastal towns are often reserved for beach vacations, but locals know the offseason is still worth exploring on the North Fork, often offering a variety of events that make the region a year-round destination, rather than just a seasonal retreat.
Supporting community and aquaculture in the midst of the holiday season is Greenport’s annual Shellabration, held this year on Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2, benefiting Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program and Suffolk Project in Aquaculture Training (SPAT). This 7th annual restaurant walk will feature small shellfish plates paired with local wine or beer from participating restaurants and merchants, highlighting the bivalves that have defined the East End’s culture.
In showcasing Greenport’s businesses, the working waterfront is a central theme for Shellabration. Sustainable and locally sourced seafood is promoted while helping to raise the necessary funds to support shellfish enhancement and marine habitat projects. The timing of the event, organizers say, is purposeful.
“The event is designed to occur at the start of the holiday season so it provides a nice influx of patrons to Greenport on the shoulder season, although Greenport is evolving into a year-round destination with much to enjoy throughout the year,” Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program outreach manager Kimberly Barbour says. “It’s worth noting that our economy is very much tied to the health of our marine environment and I think this is something the Greenport community very much understands. I believe this is yet another reason why they are so generous with their hosting of and participation in this event.”
Restaurants are paired with local wine and beer, offering tastes for $5 and $3 respectively. Participants include First and South with McCall Wines, The Frisky Oyster with Sparkling Pointe, Noah’s with Bedell Cellars, Little Creek Oyster Company with Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., and Lucharitos with Fire Island Beer Co. As “Shellabrants” check in, they will receive their first complimentary pairing with a shellfish plate from the SPAT program-sponsored raw bar along with a new beverage pairing with Borghese Vineyard’s Rosé for the Bays wine. The cabernet franc rosé was specially created to support Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program with all sales benefitting the organization.
“We work closely with the business community through our partnership with the Greenport Business Improvement District, a key sponsor and great overall supporter of this event,” Barbour adds. “We can’t pull Shellabration off without close coordination and cooperation from all of the businesses involved, so we are so grateful they see the value in opening up their doors and providing a continually enjoyable experience to our Shellabrants year after year.”
Hundreds of participants take part in the SPAT program each year helping to grow the millions of oysters, clams and bay scallops produced annually at the hatchery. The program provides hands-on opportunities for community members to grow their own shellfish under the guidance with aquaculture specialist Kim Tetrault.
Participants will also have access to discounts at local shops, and there will be a popup shop at the North Fork Art Collective with Bay to the Bays apparel, Mana Made jewelry and more for holiday shopping. Advance purchase of wristbands is strongly encouraged. Details are online at shellabration.li.