Nantucket, Nantucket… I’m still new to Massachusetts but I dropped down a year ago for the Film Festival and fell absolutely in love with the place. I can’t imagine many people who don’t. It’s so obvious why this little island off the Cape is so internationally renowned. It’s boutiquey and seabreezy, lasso’d with uneven cobblestone streets, old winsome homes, and a charming abundance of color.
Can you picture waking up every morning to serenity? A Nicholas Sparks-like setting with a coffee, wool sweater and a sunrise? I’m getting all the feels right now as I wiggle around in this downtown Boston office.
So, I’d like to introduce you to Tara and Matt, who found the hidden secret to doing something they love, and doing it right in the middle of paradise. Here is the story behind Grey Lady Oysters, from the founders.
Africa, Science, Love, and a Little OCD
Tara & Matt: It only took a trip to Zanzibar to teach local islanders how to raise shellfish for Matt (a seasoned Nantucket commercial fisherman) and Tara (a shellfish biologist) to fall in love and start Grey Lady Oysters in the waters of Nantucket.
We got married and combined our strengths using science, hard work, and a little OCD to create a sustainable oyster farm and a great oyster that best represents our passion and time invested.
Through our best management practices, we focus on maintaining the healthiest oysters by eliminating biofouling, crowding, and by following strict harvesting protocols set forth by the state of Massachusetts. We use time and wind to create a beautifully delicious oyster with a great meat-to-shell ratio that is becoming signature of our farming practices.
We are a two-person operation and manage every aspect of the oyster farm, from taking care of the seed to harvest, ensuring consistent quality with every Grey Lady Oyster order.
It’s a Lifestyle
Tara & Matt: The favorite part of being an oyster farmer (especially on Nantucket) is that it is a very peaceful existence. Being able to get in your skiff as the sun is rising and drive up the harbor to a quiet area is very satisfying. Farming food in a sustainable way that is also improving water quality on a local level makes you very proud of your efforts. We have a two year old and a three year old, it has been great incorporating them into oyster farm life and truly creating an awareness of the environment, work ethic, and passion for what you do.
How to Enjoy a Grey Lady Oyster
Tara & Matt: We like our customers to enjoy the whole oyster. Our oysters vary in taste with the changing seasons. Nantucket is surrounded by full strength seawater, so you can expect a briny oyster with a very clean finish. We do not rush our oysters to market, we like them to really fill out the shell and develop a deep cup. After eating the oyster, flip over the shell-you can expect a beautiful, clean shell with smooth edges (tumbled naturally through wave and wind action). We sample our oysters weekly so that we can always know what our customers may be experiencing with each season.
Find them Locally
Many thanks to Tara and Matt for inspiring us by sharing the passion behind your farm! Blog followers: keep up with Grey Lady Oysters. Give them a follow on Instagram at @greyladyoysters.
Photo credits: Grey Lady Oyster Facebook Page