Chesapeake Gold

Dec 10, 2011

Nice little Chesapeake oysters grown by Johnny Shockley, a third-generation Maryland waterman who has transitioned to the aquaculture side of things (which is pretty much an essential survival strategy if you’re a Maryland waterman these days). The primary oyster is grown on Hooper’s Island, where the salinity averages 16 ppt (pretty low) but dropped to an almost-fresh 7 ppt in 2011 (due to lots and lots of rain). I think the 7 ppt oysters have a place, since the lack of salt allows a pure, clean “oysterness” to shine through–kind of a marine version of jerusalem artichoke and creamed corn–but most people want more salt in their oysters, so some Chesapeake Golds are also being “salted up” near Chincoteague Bay, a centuries-old strategy for giving them an intense, bitter-salty Atlantic brine. If you get the opportunity, try them both: a fun lesson in the power of terroir. Whatever the salinity, what stands out in Chesapeake Golds is the small, thick shell, which opens beautifully, the deep cups, and the full meat inside. A great selection for those who like a cocktail-sized oyster.

Chesapeake Golds

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