Like fine wine, oysters take on the characteristics of the place they grow and live. And nothing tastes more like the sea, salt, and terroir of Cape Cod than its oysters. Oyster fanatics world wide have been slurping down Cape Cod’s mighty bivalves for generations. After all, the Cape has been producing top notch oysters in its shallow bays and cold ocean waters for centuries. Mention Cape Cod oysters and the first name that will leap to mind is Wellfleet, the area’s number one oyster ambassador – found at restaurants around the globe. But as more and more oyster farmers set up boutique oyster farms on Cape Cod, the Wellfleet oyster isn’t the only game in town. We look at the top Cape Cod oyster harvesters.
Top 3 Oysters on Cape Cod
Cotuit Oysters, Cotuit
Though the Cotuit Oyster Company dates back to 1857, it was only within the last handful of years that this relaunched oyster farm has been harvesting their fantastic oysters. Fresh water streams, marshes, and estuaries combine with the water from Nantucket Sound to purify the oysters, leaving them deliciously plump with a clean, sweet, briny flavor.
Where to Buy: The best way to buy Cotuit Oysters is straight from the farm. They are licensed to sell direct to the public and welcome retail customers to their facility. But be sure to call or e-mail your order in advance, so it is ready when you get there. They also can send oysters by FedEx if you are out of town and looking for a taste of Cotuit.
Location: The Cotuit Oyster Company – 26 Little River Road in Cotuit.
Wellfleet Oysters, Wellfleet
Grown on the briny mudflats and shallow, swift moving waters of Wellfleet Harbor, these internationally known oysters get their plump, sweet, briny flavor from a mixture of salt and fresh cold water funneled into the harbor. Unlike Cotuit oysters, there are numerous farms in Wellfleet. The New York Times writes, “There are about 80 grants — plots rented from the town government — in Wellfleet, most about three acres each. (The ocean floor belongs to no person, but the government will grant you the right to farm shellfish on a small parcel of it.) That means that all the famous Wellfleet oysters — whether sold in Provincetown or Paris — come from those oystermen.”
Where to Buy: You can find Wellfleet oysters at most supermarkets on Cape Cod. But, when getting them as fresh as possible is a priority, you can buy them directly from a local harvester such as the Puffer family who has been growing and harvesting award-winning oysters since the 1970’s. You can email or call them at (800) 5 RAWBAR. Mac’s Seafood in Wellfleet is another great option. If you’re having a party and want to serve oysters, they sell a bag of 100 “select” oysters for $150. Their selects are just harvested oysters that are “especially round, plump, and deep-cupped.”
Location: Mac’s Seafood – The Wellfleet Town Pier on 265 Commercial Street.
Barnstable Oysters, Barnstable
Boston Magazine writes, “With its abundant creeks, algae, and space for fresh- and saltwater interaction, Barnstable Harbor “is just magical for oysters,” says Island Creek’s Dana Hale. Of the dedicated growers there producing buttery bivalves with big cups, standout varieties include Moon Shoals, Spring Creeks, and Beach Point.” Beach Point Oyster Farmers grow and harvest their oysters in a remote location on the eastern tip of Sandy Neck where Barnstable Harbor meets Cape Cody Bay. The Oyster Guide writes, “Put Barnstable Harbor on your bivalve map. Back in 2008 I tasted Scorton Creek Oysters from Barnstable Harbor and gave them two thumbs up. Today there are two other Barnstable Harbor oysters in general circulation [Beach Point and Moon Shoals], and they are two of the best I’ve sampled in years.”
Where to Buy: None of the Barnstable oyster producers have permits to sell directly to consumers, but they all sell directly to restaurants around the country. You can try many local varieties at places like the Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston and Eastern Standard in Cambridge. If you’re on the Cape and want to sample Barnstable’s delectable terroir, The Naked Oyster on Main Street in Hyannis sells oysters they grow themselves in Barnstable Harbor.
Location: The Naked Oyster – 410 Main Street in Hyannis.
Be as lucky as one of these oysters and spend your days in the waters of Cape Cod! Contact one of our local agents to talk about finding the perfect home near any one of these gorgeous oyster meccas by calling 508.648.6861. And take a look at our exclusive listings in Cotuit, Wellfleet, and Barnstable.