Friday, July 28, 2017

Shellfish Caution

Vibrio is back in the news. Here's what you need to know.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 11:09 AM

UPDATE: Vibrio vulnificus, a potentially dangerous bacterium, is always lurking in Virginia waterways, but dramatic cases bring it back into news. An Essex County woman may lose her finger after swimming in the Rappahannock River last weekend, the Times-Dispatch reports.

In 2015, the last time vibrio was suddenly on everyone's mind when a Mechanicsville man died after contracting it, I wrote an explainer that is, unfortunately, timely once again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015: Charlie Horner, a Mechanicville grandfather and veteran, died from a puncture wound he received while fishing in the Rappahannock River late last month. After his death, Vibrio vulnificus suddenly was in the news, often characterized as flesh-eating bacteria. That’s true, but it isn’t the whole story.

Vibrio more commonly is known as a warm-water-loving bacterium, which can infect unsuspecting diners who eat raw shellfish. And a lot of us like our shellfish — particularly oysters — raw.

You often hear that you should eat oysters only in months that contain the letter R. That’s because summer water temperatures are ideal for the bacteria to grow. Nevertheless, whether we like it or not, there’s a low level of Vibrio in the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia rivers throughout the year. That doesn’t mean it’s dangerous — although for the elderly, people with liver disease and the immune-compromised, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise avoiding raw shellfish.

There were only 11 cases in the state confirmed last year. So far, there have been 17 this year. And Virginia has tough regulations on the books for harvesting shellfish.

During the summer months, for example, oysters must be harvested and back at the dock by 10 a.m. and put into refrigeration. While the boat is out, all oysters must be shaded.

In June, boats have only three hours to go out to harvest, and during July and August, that time is reduced to two hours. If you want to bring in oysters later in the day, you must put a Virginia Marine Resources Commission-approved GPS tracking device on your boat to make sure you get back within the time limit. Any other transportation after the oysters leave the facility also must be refrigerated.

“[The] industry has invested hundreds of millions of dollars on ice makers, refrigerated trucks, shade, coolers,” says Robert Rheault, president of the East Coast Shellfish Grower’s Association, “and almost every state has been forced to tighten post-harvest refrigeration regulations.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Grocery Delivery, Coffee, Ice Cream + More

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 12:21 PM

Why are Richmond restaurants burning down? A devastating fire broke out at the 40-year-old Tobacco Company Restaurant this weekend and management says that it will be closed indefinitely. It follows a blaze July 1 at Carytown taco spot Don’t Look Back, which will take six months to repair, according to owner Hami Shamooda. Last year, both Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream and Rappahannock suffered fires, but are back in business.

Amazon hasn’t ramped up its Prime Now pantry delivery service since the deal to acquire Whole Foods was announced, but it looks like another delivery company has taken notice. Instacart has moved into the counties surrounding Richmond, reports the Times-Dispatch. Right now, however, there’s somewhat
spotty service in the city. Some lucky folks, though, can order from Wegmans, Whole Foods Market, Costco, Petco and CVS. Service for Publix starts this weekend. Here are the zip codes with delivery service: 23146, 23059, 23060, 23228, 23294, 23233, 23103, 23238, 23229, 23226, 23230, 23173, 23221, 23219, 23225, 23235, 23113, 23114, 23236, 23112, 23832. instacart.com.

Brenner Pass, Metzger Bar & Butchery’s the Swizz-inflected sibling located in Scott’s Addition, will soon have company. Richmond BizSense reports that the owners plan to open Chair Lift, a coffee shop serving sandwiches and baked goods, in August. brennerpassrva.com.

And coffee shop Cafe Zata is planning to open a second location in Manchester at 700 Bainbridge St. in August, Richmond BizSense also reports, which — be still my heart — is within walking distance of Style’s offices. There will be a patio, sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, doughnuts based on recipes from Dixie Donuts and Gelati Celesti ice cream. cafezata.com.

A self-described dessert cafe will soon open the doors of 306 E. Grace St., the old Monumental Coffee space. Mason and Ajin Gray will open Monchou, reports the Times-Dispatch, and will focus on French pastries and coffee. instagram.com/monchourva.

Two other spots, sadly, bite the dust. The Jerk Pit, at 2713 W. Broad St., is no longer in operation. Sabai and Ya-Ya’s Cookbook’s Joe Kiatsuranon plans to open a restaurant in the space, reports Richmond magazine. And Vietnamese restaurant Royal Restaurant in Gold’s Gym Plaza closed on Monday, July 3.

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