As we approach the edge of 2011, I want to leave you with a final oyster story. It's about Walrus and Carpenter Oysters from Rhode Island.

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Throughout this year I have learned a lot about oysters. Although I have my favorite flavor profiles and varieties, I’ve realized that at the end of the day, it’s really just about the freshness. The best oysters that I’ve had are always the freshest ones. That’s what makes the Walrus and Carpenter Oyster CSA so wonderful. The farmers personally deliver the freshest oysters directly to the consumer–out of the water and into your tummy in less than 24 hours. Grown lovingly by Sean Patch and Jules Opton-Himmel, these boldly briny and buttery nuggets were the toast of last night’s “My Favorite Things” party.

Our oyster CSA pickup spot was at a small Tribeca studio at Warren and West Broadway. We were greeted by the Sean aka the Walrus and were invited to sample some oysters and have a beer. I also brought my trusty Half Sheller with me for the party, so I had Sean try it out. It was well received by him and a few other oyster buyers. The Half Sheller has been such a great help to me. No longer must I deal with creating messy counters! I must make a point to purchase another one so that I can have a place to display the shucked oysters while I’m using the board.

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The Walrus and Carpenter Oyster is grown in Rhode Island near where East Beach Blonde oysters are grown. The average size is smallish-medium, about 1.5-2 inches of meat. The flavor is deliciously briny and buttery. They have a nice rounded finish with flavors like cured prosciutto. While most are a neutral beige color, there are a few that were surprisingly fat. They burst with white flesh that tasted wonderfully sweet.

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We then arrived at our friend’s “My Favorite Thing” party in the Lower East Side, which was already in full swing. About twenty or so people had brought various “favorite things” to the mix. There was chocolates, snacks, and of course–alcohol. I plopped the oysters into the fridge for a little while to allow them to cool off a bit. Then I got down to work. It took awhile to shuck all of the oysters, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Most were easy to pop open, but a few had brittle shells that fell apart at the hinge. During the course of the evening about a dozen or more people tried the Walrus and Carpenter oysters. There were many oyster virgins that were trying them for the first time! I reassured them that this was the best opportunity to try oysters at their best–super fresh and during an ideal time of year.

Everyone loved them and noted how fresh and buttery they were. So it turned out that my “favorite thing” ended up being everyone’s favorite in the end. I would write more but it’s time to get ready for New Years Eve! So Happy New Year and here’s to slurping more oysters in 2012!

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