Melville On Oysters

Melville On Oysters

Melville On Oysters

Oysters of Note

Herman Melville's words ring true: "The food of thy soul is light and space; feed it then on light and space. But the food of thy body is champagne and oysters; feed it then on champagne and oysters; and so shall it merit a joyful resurrection, if there is any to be." Below, a few favorite oyster varieties from the Northeast.


WiAnno (Massachusetts)

Raised rack-bag-and-tag in Nantucket Sound, they mature quickly but do have a brittle shell 

Maine “Belon” (Maine)

Transplanted from France in '50s, only 5,000 a year are bottom-harvested by oyster divers

Pemaquid (Maine)

Damariscotta's plump oysters in deep cup shells retain a sweet, lemon-zesty flavor profile

Island Creek (Massachusetts)

From windswept flats of Duxbury Bay, these briny, buttery guys ship to 350 American restaurants 

Blue Point (Connecticut)

Connecticut variety cultivated near Copps and Tuxis islands, mild salinity and enjoyable size 

Quonset Point (Rhode Island)

Pride of Narragansett, these sweet-meat, orange-shell beauts grow up pampered in mesh trays 

Bagaduce (Maine)

Mature specimens offer briny, seaweed flavor in shells that would win a beauty pageant

Glidden Point (Maine)

Grow in 40-feet depths of Damariscotta estuary, where fresh water means crisp flavors

Cotuit (Massachusetts)

Raised on Cotuit Bay by same company since 1857, jade shells pulled from sandy bottoms

Moonstone (Rhode Island)

White shells with black striping and deep cuts, oysters are full-cupped with long, salty finish

Wellfleet (Massachusetts)

Beach-cultured in Cape Cod, tidal exposure leads to firm texture, lots of salt, high popularity

East Beach Blondes (Rhode Island)

Farmed in Ninigret "salt pond," high-brine types have silky-smooth bodies and pearly shells 

Barnstable (Massachusetts) 

Farmed along harbor in mesh bags, sweet, nutty, moderate salt taste with slight crunch to texture

Open since 1826, the Union Oyster House in Boston is the oldest oyster bar in America-and the nation’s oldest restaurant in continuous service. When JFK was a senator, the Oyster House was his regular Sunday spot.