Massachusetts and RI

Island Creek

Oyster farmer John Brawley hauls a tray of Island Creeks out of Duxbury Bay

Grown by Skip Bennett and his gang of Duxbury Bay oyster farmers, Island Creeks  have an amazing butter-and-brine taste. They are as salty as all getout, making them the classic Boston partner for a pint of Sam Adams Lager, and every single one is delightfully firm and beautifully clean tasting, qualities that enabled Island Creek to win Best Oyster at the largest blind oyster tasting ever held. What makes Duxbury Bay such a prime oyster-growing spot is its shallowness, which leads to near-complete tidal exchange twice a day. At high tide, there are 35 billion gallons of water in the bay. At low tide, just 7 billion. (At any time, there are 15-20 million oysters in there.) That’s a lot of fresh plankton and cold water surging into the bay on each rising tide, which keeps the oysters firm and briny all year long. And because they are finished their last several months free on the bay bottom (many are hand-harvested by farmers simply walking out on the flats at low tide), they have nice, firm shells. When I ask servers what oyster they recommend to customers, the answer I hear most often is “Island Creek.” The moniker was actually coined by Sandy Ingber, the legendary chef at Grand Central Oyster Bar, when Skip first sent him some sample oysters. Sandy loved the oysters. “What do you call ‘em?” Sandy asked. Duxburies, Skip said. “Name sucks,” said Sandy, who doesn’t mince words. “Tell me more about where they come from.” Eventually Skip mentioned that he’d grown up in a corner of Duxbury Bay named “Island Creek” for a small tidal river. “That’s your name,” Sandy said. “Don’t ever change it.” You can order themhere.

The Island Creek culling floats

 

 

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