Massachusetts and RI

Mention the state of Massachusetts, and just one name surfaces in the mind of the typical oyster eater: Wellfleet. Wellfleet is a noble name in the lineage of oyster towns, and rightly so: the shallow bays of that famous Cape town produce the same excellent oysters they have for centuries. But the intrepid oyster eater will certainly want to explore the geography of New England oysters beyond Wellfleet’s well-mapped shores. We have to leave the Outer Cape to find the other jewels—oysters that rival any in the world—which come from the southern salt ponds of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Thank the jumbled geology of Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the amazing variety in the oysters found there. There are the light-bodied salt bombs of Wellfleet and Cape Cod Bay, the richer oysters from the south-facing ponds and islands, and the earthier oysters of the big bays—Buzzards and Narragansett. Only Washington State can boast a wider range.

As the area awakens to the glory of its local oysters, more and more growers are investing the time and energy to grow premium oysters, knowing that the market will reward them. Quite a turnaround from the DOA status of the New England industry just decades ago.

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