Please allow me to take a few minutes here to delve into some of the finer points of our Honeysuckle Farm oysters (Crassostrea virginica)! Honeysuckle Oyster Farm is located within the protected confines of Martha’s Vineyard’s Katama Bay…Does that body of water sound familiar? I thought it might! You may know our Katama Bay and Sweet Neck Farm oysters which are both sourced from the same estuary. It bears mention that all three of these varieties are farm-raised in an environmentally sustainable manner, and that if Cheffy has a “green” agenda, any or all of these would be excellent choices to complement his or her ecologically sound menu.
Now then…The Honeysuckle Farm oysters start out as 1.5 millimeter seed stock which is sourced through a certified Maine hatchery. These tiny oysters are introduced to Katama Bay in early summer, and are kept in an upweller, which essentially acts as a floating nursery. Throughout the summer months, a constant flow of nutrient rich water is pumped through the upweller, and the fledgling oysters feed constantly. By the time August rolls around, the Honeysuckle Farm oysters will have attained a size of roughly an inch in diameter, and they are transferred to a suspension culture comprised of trays and cages.
The oyster are regularly pulled from the Honeysuckle Oyster Farm lease, removed from the cages, and given a little spin in a semi-submerged tumbler (Which happens to be powered by a wind turbine…Remember the whole environmentally sustainable aspect of the farm?). This tumbling process is terrifically effective in terms of removing any bio-fouling while simultaneously chipping off new shell growth. Now why would anyone want to chip away the shell? Isn’t the whole point to get the oysters to market size as soon as possible? Well…Yes, and no…Chipping away irregular growth helps to strengthen the valves (shells) while increasing the degree of consistency in shape amongst the oysters. Additionally, this chipping process facilitates greater cup definition, and who doesn’t love that? Soooo…It’s a trade off…The oysters take a little longer to reach market size, but when they do, they are incredibly consistent in terms of size and shape. The ends justify the means. This process is repeated until the Honeysuckle Farm oysters reach +/- three and a half inches in length, at which time they are given a final grade, and are then sprayed with a pressure-washer. The pressure-washer removes any stubborn bits of bio-fouling which might spoil an otherwise perfect oyster experience. Additionally, this step will allow Cheffy to straight from the box (More about that later!) to the plate without and scrubbing, cleaning, etc. required. The Honeysuckle Farm oysters are then carefully hand-packed (cup-side-down) by the 100-count in 100% recyclable wax-alternative boxes. How much greener could it be? The answer is none…None more green.
After packaging, the oysters are whisked from Martha’s Vineyard to our Eliot, Maine distribution facility before making their way to you. As with the Katama Bays and Sweet Necks, the flavor profile of the Honeysuckle Farm oysters is driven by a high salinity. This is largely due to the fact that Martha’s Vineyard is situated pretty much in the open ocean, and Katama Bay is twice daily purged by the highly-brined waters of Nantucket Sound. On a personal note, I consider the Martha’s Vineyard oysters to be a purists ideal. If there is a “hint of melon”, “grass like finish”, or other flavors associated with the M.V. oysters, they are lost on my palate. These oysters lead with a brininess which has all the subtlety of David Lee Roth, and close with a clean, bright, simple sugar finish. Pre-orders are strongly encouraged. Order early! Order often!