We are now sourcing Moon Shoal oysters (Crassostrea virginica) from Barnstable, Massachusetts. More specifically, the Moon Shoals are grown out in the estuary that is formed where the waters of Scorton Creek and Barnstable Harbor meet (N 41.71/W 70.30). Cape Cod provides the Moon Shoal lease (CCB-31) protection from the open Atlantic, while also serving as a trough for the cold, nutrient rich waters of the Gulf of Maine. Some of the finest oysters the North Atlantic has to offer us come from the sandy shallows of Cape Cod Bay, and the Moon Shoals are of the finest kind.
Moon Shoals actually come from the same exact brood stock as the ever-popular Island Creek oysters (http://www.jpshellfish.com/island_creek_oysters.php), which happen to be one of my perennial favorites. Each May, the Duxbury upwellers are loaded with the seed stock that will become the Moon Shoals. Over the period of two or three months, the tiny oysters grow to the size of a quarter or so, and they are then transferred to the Barnstable Harbor lease where they are put into a rack and tray suspension culture. The rack and tray system keeps the Moon Shoals up off of the sandy floor of the bay, and holds the oysters in the current which twice daily floods the harbor with fresh seawater laden with proteins. The oysters remain in the trays for about a year, at which time they will have attained a size of one-and-a-half to two-inches. The final step of the grow-out sees the Moon Shoals removed from the trays, and hand planted on the hard-packed floor of the harbor where they will remain for two to four months and undergo their finishing. When the Moon Shoals are harvested (Either by hand or with tongs…Both environmentally sustainable and ecologically sound methods.), they will have reached roughly three-and-a-quarter inches in length, and developed a pronounced deep cup. Shells of the Moon Shoals are dense, rugged, and shuck easily. Meats are full, firm, and are suspended in highly brined liquor. The Moon Shoals lead with a wallop of salinity, which yields to a sweet finish (Remember the glucose?).
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