A new venture by three North Fork residents has added an itinerant oyster bar as the latest way for mollusk fans to get their fix during prime oyster season. Mark Terry, the principal planner for Southold Town, Chris Pickerell (shucking at left), a marine biologist for Cornell Cooperative Extension, and attorney Kieran Corcoran have opened NoFo Oyster Bar as a way to sell their oysters, operating mostly on weekends at wineries and for special events.
Terry started growing oysters in 2007 in his spare time from a long line in the Great Peconic Bay. From the line hang 50 nets in which the spat mature into edible oysters in about two years. He considers himself a niche grower producing about 2,000 oysters per year. “It’s a lot of work,” he says, “but it gets me out on the water.”
Soon he was talking about his hobby with Pickerell, whose father, Howard, has been running an oyster-growing operation, Peconic Pride, in Water Mill for years. An eelgrass specialist, Pickerell now spends his weekdays planting eelgrass and weekends opening oysters.
The selling point of his father’s oysters, he says, is that they open well, because the shells are so hard. There’s no splintering when the knife is inserted, which results in very few lost oysters. Pickerell says such shell vigor is due to good growing conditions: a sandy bottom, good water circulation and optimal temperature. “It’s all about the shells,” he says.
During a weekend, Pickerell can open anywhere from 300 to 1,000 oysters, depending on the crowd, with an event at Martha Clara setting their record.
The bulk of their advertising has been on Facebook, where NoFo Oyster Bar has a page and more than 200 fans. To get them to come to your party e-mail [email protected].