Gay Island: A Maine Oyster of Another Sort

Aug 08, 2009

Unusual oysters grown in the open ocean south of Cushing Harbor, Gay Islands are a real treat. They are one of the best examples of a style I think of as “beach oysters.” With almost no freshwater influence, Gay Islands have a bracing North Atlantic flavor that comes from the fully marine environment and the fact that they are grown in floating trays on the surface. They can be intensely briny, like when you’re a kid and choke on a wave while bodysurfing, but they also can be sweet and mouthwatering. They’d be my choice with a Maine ale. Many Maine oysters come from the same broodstock and have a notable black stripe on the top shell; Gay Islands serve as their own broodstock and are genetically unique—pale tan shells, layered like phyllo. They can be ordered directly from the family that grows them.

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