One thing we, as a crew, never tire of (besides making each other laugh) is discussing the cull. We’ve got Maggie and Catie who are both veterans on the farm (we like to say that Maggie has been around so long, she actually invented culling) as well as Quinn, Berg, and A2 who were all around last summer, plus myself, Will, and Eva (the newbies). While the cull itself never changes (still looking for threes, Graybars, Per Se’s), discussion of what makes a Per Se or a Graybar can go on for hours. We’ve now uncovered ‘tweeners, the in-between shape that could go either way but really, should just be returned to the water to grow up a little more. Maggie and Catie are strict with their cull and return oysters when their too oblong or narrow so I’ve taken to following their lead. A2, who’s in charge of the float (and by virtue, the cull) constantly pulls out oysters to show us what he’s looking for and what direction we should be going. Basically, it’s an evolving discussion. Not to mention, no two oysters are the same. So every day, we flip our crates, set up our stations, and cull with a purpose. It really makes a difference in the oysters that go into our bags, which I hope (and imagine) makes a difference to the chefs who buy them.
Last week, we got two new additions, Gourmet and Midnight. No, we’re not going into the business of Island Creek heritage pork. But we are planning on fattening them up in time for Oyster Fest in September. Two of our participating chefs, Chris Schlesinger and Jamie Bissonnette are roasting them for the event. Plus we’ve got 16 other chefs on board from Jody Adams and Jasper White to Louis DiBicarri, Will Gilson, Greg Reeves, and Jeremy Sewell doing small dishes with scallops, stripers, and razor clams. We’re also looking to shuck something like 40,000 oysters. Phew. You guys ready?