Farmer: Abigail Carroll
Location: Scarborough, ME
How they’re grown: Emeralds are the Nonesuch bottom cultured oysters and The entire lease is sub-tidal. They’re spread across the bed of the river and harvested by a small drag, either with a rake or everyone’s favorite technique...swimming with a snorkel! The oysters are placed in crates for a week on the surface to purge any extra sand or silt. This extra step ensures that the shells are squeaky clean, inside and out!
How they taste: Being bottom planted in the riverbed, they develop great shell consistency and hearty, rich meats with distinctive brown edges. As estuarial oysters, they have a fantastic balance brine and sweetness with hints of earth, and a silky, smooth texture.
Why they’re unique: Emeralds are named for the distinctive green hue given to them by a specific benthic algae that only exists in areas of very high water quality. The Scarborough River boasts a Grade A water classification due to its "outstanding natural resource waters", which is why Nonesuch has such great-tasting, healthy oysters!
Story: Maine native Abigail Carroll describes her entrance to the oyster trade as accidental. She lived in Paris for several years, trading stocks, consulting on business plans, dating a French Count, and living what she describes as a ‘clean and easy life’. After returning home to Maine, she agreed to help a friend write a business plan for an oyster farm with the caveat that she would NOT be getting her hands dirty--famous last words, as they say. After the business plans went awry, Abigail ended up owning the property, and much to her own surprise, she ‘cowboyed up’, bought a pair of waders, and started farming oysters. At the end of the day, not only are her hands dirty but she’s covered head to toe in mud, a small price to pay for the joy she gets handing bags of oysters over to her local community. She now proudly embodies the nickname she believes she’s earned, “The Oyster Lady”, and is involved in aquaculture efforts across Maine.