Oysters are all about the place from which they hail, and New England oysters are no exception. Below you’ll find an oyster guide to some of the delectable oysters grown in the chilly waters of coastal New England. All are eastern oysters, but each type boasts a distinctive taste peculiar to the salty cove, plankton-rich bay, or brackish river where they are grown.
New England Oysters
Deep cups, with a fruity, almost berry-like finish. The Indian name means “fast water.”
White to brown in coloring, with medium cups and light and clean brininess; somewhat sweet.
Medium to large size; silky-smooth meat, with a clean and lingering ocean essence.
Glidden Point (Maine):
Big boys from the Damariscotta River, with a slightly briny, crisp, and clean ocean flavor.
Island Creek (Massachusetts):
Large shells with small meat; sweet and slightly nutty in flavor.
Moonstone (Rhode Island):
Often power washed to produce pearl-white shells; silky-smooth meat with a full-bodied, rich saltiness.
Very plump, with a crisp, cold-water richness.
Deep cups filled with plump meats; mild saltiness and a sweet finish.
Ninigret (Rhode Island):
Medium size, with a creamy, nutlike taste at first and a clean, briny finish.
Wild samples vary from very good to excellent; deep cups brimming with strong brininess and a sweet seaweed flavor. Farmed Wellfleets are also consistently good, with a similar sweet and briny taste and a coppery finish.
This New England oyster guide was written in 2008 thanks in part to chef Gregg Reeves, B&G Oysters, Ltd., 550 Tremont St., Boston, MA; 617-423-0550.bandgoysters.com