Moon Shoal Oysters from Barnstable, MA
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Farmer: Jon Martin
Location: Barnstable, MA, CCB31MA
How they’re grown: Seed begins its journey in a custom-made upweller system constructed from PVC pipe and window screen. The oysters continue to a rack and bag system until they reach about 2 inches, and then they’re placed in trays made from lobster cages. The oysters live in open trays on a sandbar, with plenty of room to be tumbled and grow hardy, rounded shells. Jon and his crew give them a healthy amount of daily TLC, and they hand-harvest directly from the trays.
How they taste: The infusion of freshwater minimizes the salinity in these oysters while lending a smooth, dairy sweetness. Think milk-soaked Ritz cracker flavor; sweet and buttery.
Why they’re unique: Jon’s lease in Barnstable Harbor is about a mile offshore and can only be accessed by boat at low tide. It’s tucked behind Sandy Neck Beach, a barrier beach that protects the farm from the Atlantic Ocean. The combination of the twice-daily 10-foot tides, the sandy floor, the surrounding marshes, and the freshwater creeks that run through the farm, give Moon Shoals a unique and complex taste that Jon describes as “balanced by nature”.
Story: There’s a reason people rave about Moon Shoals when we have them on our site, and we think it might have a little something to do with the people behind the oysters. Jon Martin, a native Cape-Codder, is a full-time firefighter with the Hyannis Fire Department and an all-around great guy. He got hooked on aquaculture many years ago when he (somewhat serendipitously) joined a friend of a friend on his boat to tour the grants after a 24-hour shift at the fire station. He’s been harvesting full-time since 2008.