Typically, a bushel of oysters weighs between 45 and 60 pounds and contains between 100 and 150 oysters. The number of oysters in a bushel varies depending on how big the oysters are. Bushels usually feed between four and six people.
Oysters help to filter water in their environments by passing it through their gills. As they feed, oysters draw water over their gills and filter out plankton and other particles. Oysters often settle into groups called banks or reefs which then create habitats for other creatures. The Chesapeake Bay once had the largest oyster population in the United States, but the numbers there have dwindled due to fishing. There are also large populations of oysters in Willapa Bay in Washington and in the Gulf of Mexico along the coasts of Florida and Texas.
Fishermen harvest oysters from their beds using tongs and scrapers. A popular delicacy around the world, oyster festivals are held in the United Kingdom each year. In the United States, oysters became popular among the working class in New York City in the 1900s. They are often on the menu in restaurants and can be served raw, steamed, baked, broiled, fried and smoked, although some people have adverse reactions to eating raw oysters.