The oysters provided on these two trips come from Gay Island Oyster Farm, owned by Jeff and his wife, Deb Metzmaker. The Metzmakers took over the oyster farm in 2014. Jeff’s farming instinct, combined with a connection with the Maine coast, and an innate calling to the oyster world is what drew him to becoming an oyster farmer. Jeff delivers and prepares the oysters himself to our Down East Adventures groups. He often stays to enjoy a few of his tasty mollusks and share a few good stories.
“Our oysters have been kissed by the tides and blessed by the tides, developing a taste that has been described as clean, crisp, briny with a smooth creamy finish.”
Farming oysters sounds fairly simple, but there’s a lot going on that you don’t see. First you blend high-quality oyster seed with optimally nutritious tidal water. Next you clear any predators and competitors from the immediate area to enhance the oyster growth potential. Then you give them a quick tumble to help the oysters grow into the perfect iconic shape. After that, the oysters take care of themselves. They filter about 50 gallons of water per day, feeding on the algae brought in by the tide.
“The Gay Island Oyster is, like all of us, a product of our environment. The oyster pulls the ocean into its shell, across its gills, and filters algae for a nutritious lunch, all day and all night. It then develops a character, a taste that reflects the microenvironment of its life cycle.”
A purist, Jeff believes the best way to eat an oyster is cold, alive, and unadorned. However, he recognizes that not all oyster lovers take them down that way, so he’s perfected a champagne mignonette sauce for those who need the extra flavor. Here’s the recipe: