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SEAFOOD HERITAGE
SUSTAINABLE SPECIES
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EASTERN SHORE RECIPES
CATCH IT WHILE YOU CAN!
Seafood Heritage
Fish Monger History
Many of us grew up with traditional, family owned and operated fish markets in town or in our neighborhood. Many of these small fish markets though have gone the way of the egg man, milk man, and local butcher shop - having been supplanted by larger area super market chains.

Seafood peddlers once sold seafood in many Eastern Shore town via horse drawn carts and later by trucks. These "fish mongers" travelled the streets of Ocean City, Salisbury, Berlin, Snow Hill, and many other Eastern Shore towns.

Some mongers used a small tin horn to announce their arrival in the neighborhood.

Annual Lower Shore Fish Festivals
Spring Soft Shell Festival - Crisfield - May

Tawes Crab and Clam Bake - Crisfield - July

Hard Crab Derby Festival - Crisfield - September

Skipjack Festival - Deal Island - September

Harbor Day on the Docks - Ocean City - October

A Fish Tale
The Eastern Shore of Maryland has been producing seafood products for centuries. Native Americans have exploited the abundance of local natural seafood and used it for trading purposes as well. And since the colonial period oysters, clams, and numerous species of finfish sustained early colonists as well.

Shad, herring, striped bass, sea trout and sturgeon fed early settlers and were often salted and shipped to distant markets. Oysters became vogue after the Civil War and places like Crisfield and Cambridge became ground zero in trying to fill an insatiable national market. Trains carried thousands of barrels of oysters to demanding markets in New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington and beyond. Because of this, thousands of Eastern Shore men and women were employed within the oyster industry.

With the eventual wane of oyster production, the blue crab filled in the seafood industry niche as best it could, but never attained the economic impact that the oyster created. But fin fish such as black drum, shad, sea trout, spot, croaker, striped bass and other species also helped drive the economic machine on the Eastern Shore. Seafood has always been an important part of the local economy and its multiplier effects could be measured throughout the region. The Eastern Shore name has and will always be synonymous with fresh, locally harvested, high quality seafood. From our docks to your plate - nothing but the best!

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Photographs by Dana Kester-McCabe