The Maryland Seafood Marketing Program, an effort of the state's Department of Natural Resources, has started up its fourth season of chef education tours.
The tours offer culinary professionals an opportunity to see Chesapeake seafood products up close, and to harvest them alongside the watermen who derive their livelihood on the bay.
In its first three years, more than 400 chefs have enrolled in the education tours, on which they've explored trot lining for crabs, aquaculture, crab picking houses, pound nets and hand-tonging for oysters.
The program's director, Steve Vilnit, is planning 40 outings this year. The next scheduled trips are May 27, when the outing will be a land-based trip to a crab-packing house and oyster farm, and June 3, a trip to Barren Island Oysters Co. in Dorchester County.
The education tours are free, but chefs have to make their own way to each trip's embarkation point. Interested chefs should contact Vilnit, the director of fisheries marketing for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org.