One of my Favorite Traditions
Once a year, I go with a group of friends to Duxbury, Massachusetts, to visit the farmers of Island Creek Oysters (islandcreekoysters.com). It’s one of my favorite “traditions,” and this year was a nearly perfect day. Carl Christian, owner of the Boston restaurant 28 Degrees, organizes the day and usually takes care of lunch. This year we did a potluck of sorts. We had eight people, all foodies of different sorts.
Island Creek is a co-op of a dozen or so oyster farmers who have leases on Duxbury Bay, where they scatter their teeny oysters (the size of a pinky nail) and keep an eye on them until they’re big enough to eat and sell. These are fine oysters. And as I’ve said a million times, no ingredient expresses its provenance like an oyster. Oysters’ flavor, texture, and so on are all about where they come from, and Duxbury, it turns out, is a great place to be from if you’re an oyster. These are the oysters you get at Per Se in New York and any raw bar worth its salt.
We met on the town dock and went off with farmers Don Merry (with his son Ben) and Mark Bouthillier. Within minutes we had a bushel or more of oysters straight from the water, and Carl was pouring champagne. Oh, and the sun was shining, something it hasn’t done a whole lot this summer. There was lots of shucking. Lots of slurping. Lots of sipping. And then there was swimming. Followed by lunch.
It was hard to head back up Route 3, but I had Sox tickets and a date with my godson Mikey. So, more oysters at Eastern Standard, where we had a fun and terrific dinner (if you’re a Jeremy Sewall fan, and you should be, he’s now in the kitchen, “consulting”), followed by Fenway. The Sox pulled it out at the last minute, winning the game, finally, with a run in the eighth inning. Big Poppy stank things up, but it was a good day just the same.