Following the Maine Oyster Trail

Nichole S. Gehr

We viewed as Andy Rogers, an oyster-shucking winner, grilled new, plump, just-opened oysters. We ended up sitting in a pair of Adirondack chairs on a deck overlooking the Damariscotta River, surrounded by the operating accoutrements of an oyster farmer: tangles of ropes, stacks of wire cages and buoys, hoses and buckets. A flat-base boat was tied to the dock down below. The “river of several fishes,” named by the Abenakis and now famous for its oysters, stretched out ahead of us, a vast, dim, tidal waterway achieving for the Atlantic Ocean. Rogers experienced the oysters, touched with a easy lemon-garlic-thyme butter, prepared in minutes. We slurped they have been heat, business, sweet — a mouthful of sea.

This was our 1st quit together the just lately introduced Maine Oyster Path, showcasing a assortment of oyster activities, which include farm tours, shucking classes, uncooked bars, restaurants, and retail retailers serving and advertising domestically harvested Maine oysters (www.maineoystertrail.com). An interactive online trip planner enables you to customise your itinerary dependent on what region of Maine you want to investigate and what variety of encounters you’d like to have. Even if you’re not an oyster lover, it is a fantastic way to study about a rising $8 million marketplace (Maine has a lot more than 100 farms) and get to fulfill some progressive, hardworking farmers. It can also choose you down backroads to off-the-crushed-keep track of destinations together Maine’s coastline.

We selected the midcoast location of Maine and checked off farm tours, shuck vans, raw bars, and boat and kayak tours as our favored ordeals and the method directed us to 20 locales. Yikes! Clearly, these have been way way too numerous locations to go to on our two-day journey we narrowed them down to a few farms, two uncooked bars, and 1 boat tour, with an right away continue to be at the Sebasco Harbor vacation resort in Phippsburg, Maine.

The Jolie Rogers Traveling Raw Bar, our very first halt, is the brainchild of Ryan Jolie and Andy Rogers (www.jolierogersrawbar.com). They’ve teamed up with oyster farmer Barbara Scully, one of the pioneers of oyster farming in Maine (www.scullyseaproducts.com). Scully, who launched and afterwards bought the Glidden Place Oyster Farms, now one of the largest in the condition, has been farming for additional than 30 a long time.

Barbara Scully, one of the pioneers of oyster farming in Maine, has been farming for more than 30 years.
Barbara Scully, one particular of the pioneers of oyster farming in Maine, has been farming for additional than 30 many years.Pamela Wright

“We tasted oysters from all more than New England and the globe, and Barb’s ended up the greatest,” Rogers instructed us.

There’s a small retail store, in which you can obtain Scully’s prized Appledore oysters, together with other Maine oysters and seafood goods. Jolie and Rogers are also pleased to give website visitors shucking classes and tastings, and even grill a number of bivalves for you to sample dockside.

Scully’s farm lease is found along the Edgecomb Shore of the Damariscotta River. We walked with her down a dust street to the river whilst she explained how her oysters differ from other people. Whilst most Maine farmers use seed (regarded as spat) from two principal hatcheries in the state, Scully takes advantage of only wild seed stock. She grows her oysters intertidally, the place they are generally uncovered at low tide. They’re grown slowly but surely in the recent of the river, away from land, which she says produces a firmer, cleaner oyster. “The closer you can keep with Mother Mother nature, the much better,” she mentioned. Her Appledores were some of our favorites, crisp and organization, redolent of the sea.

Our up coming cease, Glidden Position Oyster Farms, is suitable up the avenue (www.gliddenpoint.com). We arrived in time for the daily tour of the farm. “Let’s head down to the docks,” our manual, Kelsey Turcotte, reported to the compact group of visitors. “It’s a good deal a lot more pleasurable down there and a prettier see!” She advised us that Glidden Level has some 30 acres of farming region underneath lease making 750,000 oysters a year. We followed her to the docks and cages, in which oysters “are hanging out, accomplishing what they’d do if they had been out in the water.” She talked spat and luggage and cages and lifted a jumbo oyster out of the drinking water for us to see. “This is likely 5 a long time previous,” she mentioned. “Chefs enjoy these.”

Enjoy a platter of grilled oysters on the deck overlooking the Scully oyster farm.
Appreciate a platter of grilled oysters on the deck overlooking the Scully oyster farm.Pamela Wright

Following the tour, we ordered a sampling of oysters from the get-out food counter. Our favorites had been the Glidden Issue Topsiders, grown near the major of the surface where the drinking water is hotter. They had been abundant and buttery.

Up following: a trip with Damariscotta River Cruises (www.damariscottarivercruises.com).

“The Coastline Guard would like me to notify you that the bar is open up,” said the captain of the boat, as we remaining the dock. “And there are everyday living jackets below the seats.”

Sebasco Harbor Resort has gorgeous water views.
Sebasco Harbor Resort has magnificent h2o views.Pamela Wright

He’s a entertaining-loving guy with a fountain of new data on oysters. They commence out male and then turn to female, he informed us, and some of them return to male. He showed us a gallon jug of oyster seeds, containing 1½ million seeds value about $15,000.

We observed seals sunning on Goose Ledges and a juvenile bald eagle consider off from its nest, set high in a towering pine tree. The river is filled with oyster farms we motored past strings of cages, and farmers tumbling and sorting and re-bagging oysters. The captain reminded us that they had been serving the freshest oysters all around, and most travellers, ourselves included, bought a dozen to get pleasure from onboard. We went for a mix of Glidden Issue cocktails, grown deep close to the bottom of the river, and Wild Dams, harvested from the banking companies of the river the place they expand wild.

Kelsey Turcotte, a guide at Glidden Point Oyster Farms, shows off a jumbo, which chefs love.
Kelsey Turcotte, a tutorial at Glidden Place Oyster Farms, displays off a jumbo, which chefs enjoy.Pamela Wright

By now, we’d had our fill of bivalves, so we scratched the Shuck Station Uncooked Bar and Damariscotta River Grill and headed straight for Sebasco Harbor Resort (www.sebasco.com). The sprawling residence sits on 450 acres of key oceanfront true estate. It is been open due to the fact 1930 and we cannot believe we haven’t stayed at this gem in advance of. It has all the things you have to have and then some, such as a golf class, whole-service spa, tennis courts, saltwater pool, even an previous-fashioned candlepin bowling alley. There’s a slew of every day actions, such as kayak excursions and scenic boat rides, and a selection of accommodations, from rooms in the Principal Lodge to deluxe a person-bedroom to 10-bedroom cottages. There are even rooms in a lighthouse with sweeping h2o sights. The vibe is laidback, calm and unpretentious, and the setting on Casco Bay is attractive. That night, we dined outside at the resort’s Ledges Pub & Patio with drinking water views, opting for lobster rolls and burgers, with cups of creamy clam chowder.

John Herrigel, founder of the Maine Oyster Company, is an avid promoter of and ambassador for the Maine oyster industry. Stop by for oysters, shucking lessons, and visits to his farm.
John Herrigel, founder of the Maine Oyster Corporation, is an avid promoter of and ambassador for the Maine oyster field. End by for oysters, shucking lessons, and visits to his farm.Pamela Wright

The up coming early morning is a magnificence, with obvious skies and plentiful sunshine, some thing we never ever get for granted together the Maine coastline. We headed to the Maine Oyster Corporation Basecamp (www.themaineoystercompany.com), found in a former common retailer nestled on a spit of rocky land in a tiny seaside village, wherever everyone is aware of everybody. It is quintessential postcard rather Maine, with an unfussy cluster of houses, effectively-worked lobster boats and scuffed wood docks, and views throughout a snug cove into Casco Bay. The Maine Oyster Business, started off by John Herrigel who utilised to summer months in this article as a kid, is an oyster farm, an celebration area, a neighborhood hub and espresso shop, a investigation middle, and a co-op advertising and marketing and providing domestically farmed Maine oysters. “It’s all about sustaining the community and preserving a brand and lifestyle for the next generation,” Herrigel, an enthusiastic ambassador for the Maine oyster industry, advised us.

At Basecamp, you can indicator up for farm excursions, choose a shucking class, sample oysters, and support by yourself at a grab-and-go cooler that has the day’s selection of bivalves. We had been material to simply stand on the dock, listening to the distant purr of a lobster boat, and respiration in the salty, seaside air.


Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be arrived at at [email protected]

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