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Freshly shucked oysters. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file photo)
Freshly shucked oysters. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file photo)

Enjoy fresh local shellfish paired with North Fork wines, all while supporting a good cause this Friday.

Shellfish lovers can tour the shellfish hatcheries at the Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center in Southold for a special Taste & Tour event to benefit Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Marine Program. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m.

Guests will go behind the scenes of the facility, then sample some of the best local shellfish produced there. Catered by Little Creek Oysters, the Greenport eatery will select three local oyster growers to be represented and then pair their oysters with three North Fork wines.

Friday’s event marks the official launch of the Marine Center Improvement Plan Fundraising Campaign to revitalize and update the facility so it can continue its mission as an educational resource.

“We’re trying to raise funds to do some upgrades to the building,” Marine Program outreach manager Kimberly Barbour said. “It’s the base of our operations for a lot of our shellfish work.”

Along with growing millions of scallops, clams and oysters that go back into local waters, the facility is also involved in Cornell’s coastal plant work, habitat restoration program and hosts its summer camp program.

“We want people to come out and tour the facility,” Barbour said. “We want to upgrade some of these areas and make it that much better of an experience for our visitors.”

Admission to Friday’s Taste & Tour is $25 per person. While tickets will be available at the door, there are a limited number of spaces available and the Marine Program encourages people to purchase tickets in advance to ensure entry.

To purchase tickets contact Darci at (631) 852-8660 or visit eventbrite.com/e/taste-tour.

 The Suffolk County Education Marine Center is located at 3690 Cedar Beach Road in Southold.

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