Robert LaValva, a former city planner-turned-founder of New Amsterdam Market, has been working four years to establish a food destination that will reconnect modern, regional agriculture to the civic tradition of the city’s bygone markets. One of the group’s underlying ideas is that an integrated market can be fundamentally different than a greenmarket; that is, a market fosters closer connections between farmers and bakers, or butchers and cheesemongers, for example, and drives down prices, creating a public space and a revitalized food community in the process.

Last June they held their third test run for a new public market for New York; it took place outdoors near Pier 17 and was heavily attended, despite some crummy weather earlier in the day. This Saturday marks a new chapter for the organization, who still seek a home for their market: They’ll be holding a benefit dinner with lots of beer, bread, butter, and oysters. There is also an unconventional and huge online auction component to the event (sample lots include a home-cooked meal by famous chef Odessa Piper, or a cocktail party for up to eleven people, for example); bidding began yesterday.

The half-shell selection Saturday includes local Peconic Pearls and Blue Points, Chincoteagues, Cedar Points, and Mystics. Reps from Brooklyn’s Beer Table will pour cask-conditioned suds. Breads made from spent brewing grains provided by Kelso of Brooklyn will be served with butter from local creameries. Fish chowder, winter baked beans, and tart pickled vegetables will also be plentiful. Founded on Oyster Shells, a benefit for New Amsterdam Market, takes place Saturday, 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $50; proceeds will help initiate a monthly purveyor's market dedicated to regional agriculture. More information, including details about the online auction, is here. After the jump: Saturday’s full menu.

Previously, New Amsterdam Market was looking to the old Fulton Fish Market space as a home for their market. It somewhat seems, however, that the Seaport might still be developed into crystalline temple, replete with a giant raygun that turns ordinary buildings into Michael Bay-worthy megamalls. LaValva, whose website bio states he “eschews the term ‘branding’ along with all that it implies,” told us, "We are not working with mall developers and we're not trying to create a 'brand.' All of our vendors believe passionately in what they do; gathered together in a public location, they will form a new type of food culture that also embraces civic values."

Blue Points by Blue Island Seafood Group - Blue Point, NY
Chincoteagues by Toby Island Bay Oysters - Chincoteague Island, VA
Copps Island - Cedar Points by Norm Bloom and Son - Norwalk, CT
Mystics by Noank Aquaculture Cooperative - Groton, CT
Peconic Pearls by Aeros Cultured Oyster Company - Southold, NY

a selection gravity-poured, cask conditioned local beers
sourced by Justin Philips of Beer Table - Brooklyn, NY

Brewer's Bread
by Rhonda Crosson, Artisan Baker
spent grains provided by Kelso Brewery of Brooklyn
flour and oven provided by the French Culinary Institute

from Cooperstown Cheese Company - Cooperstown, NY
sourced by Anne Saxelby, Cheesemonger - New York, NY

Fish Chowder and Vegetable Stew
by Chef Ross Gill Home Restaurant - New York, NY

Winter Baked Beans
by Eric Lapkin Sweet Deliverance NYC - Brooklyn, NY

Pickled Eggs, Sprouts, and Mushrooms
by Julie Farias Beer Table - Brooklyn, NY

Pickled Turnips, Sauerkraut
by Chef Caroline Fidanza Marlow and Sons and Diner - Brooklyn, NY

by Gomberg Seltzer Works Brooklyn, NY

Ed. note: This post's author is volunteering as an oyster shucker for the event. He was a 1998 NY State oyster shucking champion.