This Saturday, Shell It Out for the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery

You’ve been slurping local oysters and sipping rosé all summer. Now, do it for a good cause.

It’s back: One of our favorite events of the year, Shell It Out Hamptons, will return this Saturday, September 1 to East Hampton.

The event will take place from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and will feature a variety of local oysters, clams and passed hors d’oeuvres, all paired beautifully with local wine.

As always, the event will benefit the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery and the oyster garden program in Three Mile Harbor, Acabonac Harbor, and Hog Creek.

“People are getting really excited about all the positive impact that growing oysters has on the environment,” says tech entrepreneur and Shell It Out co-chair Jeff Ragovin. “It’s amazing, because last year we kept telling people to come for the food, come for the people. But now I think everyone really understands that the number one reason to come is that our work is helping to keep our bays and waters clean. Three Mile Harbor has 60 plots of oysters, with 1,000 oysters per plot. That’s 60,000 oysters. Each oyster filters 50 gallons of water per day—so that’s a lot of clean water.”

And Ragovin and his team’s work is just beginning.

‘Shell It Out’ co-chairs Jeff Ragovin and Kurt Giehl at Three Mile Harbor with their harvestable oysters earlier this season. • Photo by Courtney Boyd Myers

“A group of us have been meeting over the past year,” he says. “We are going to start a non-profit that functions as the educational arm of the hatchery. We’re going to bring in scientists and other speakers to help promote and focus on the oyster gardening itself.”

Ragovin says to think of it as “Oyster University”. (To which we say: Where can we apply?)

His focus for now, however, remains on Saturday’s “Shell It Out”—and it shows. This year’s event will be bigger than ever, with more artists involved in the event’s auction, great food and wine, and activities for the kids (think touch-tanks with hermit and spider crabs, so the next generation can get to know the ecosystem).

For the adults, there will be auction packages from Babette’sNick & Toni’s, and Bay Kitchen Bar, excellent eats, and wine from Edible favorite Wainscott Main.

“Next year, our non-profit will be open,” says Ragovin. “And we can’t wait. But for now, we’re just counting down the days until ‘Shell It Out.’ It’s the perfect way to celebrate the end of the summer and the bounty that we have around us—while simultaneously making sure that that bounty remains.”

Shell It Out Hamptons will return to East Hampton on Saturday, September 1 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $150 per person (with kids welcome to attend for free) and are on sale now. All proceeds go directly to the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery and the oyster garden programs on the East End.

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Meghan Harlow

Meghan is the editor of Edible East End and Edible Long Island.