The Wawenauks (Crassostrea virginica) are sourced from the waters of mid-coast Maine’s Damariscotta River by our friends at Muscongus Bay Aquaculture, and are representative of everything a Gulf of Maine oyster should be. The Wawenauks are cultured from hand-selected brood stock from the Muscongus Bay Aquaculture nursery (which, incidentally, provides some of the finest oyster growers in New England with their seed stock), and while I am generally not a betting man; I would be willing to wager that you will be hard pressed to find a more consistently sized and shaped large choice oysters than the Wawenauks. The Wawenauks we have seen through the initial harvest have been large and beautiful. What do I mean by large? I’m glad you asked. I’m talking about oysters that are coming in at four to five inches in length. The Wawenauks will complement any larger than life menu perfectly. You know what I’m talking about. That particular eatery which proudly menus the 32 ounce “Cowboy” Delmonico along with a #1 baking potato will love the large choice Wawenauks on the half shell. It just occurred to me that the Wawenauks would be second to none in just about any conceivable hot application as well. I am very much a raw oyster enthusiast, and as such, I have a tendency overlook other preparations. I’ll have to work on that…At any rate…The Wawenauks will work exceptionally well as a Rockefeller, or any other grilling recipe. The deep cups and hearty nature of the valves (shells) will both retain the Gulf of Maine liquor as well as stand up to the heat of an oven or open flame. In a couple weeks, we also have smaller Wawenauks (roughly three to three and a half inches in length) in house for those who don’t necessarily subscribe to the “size is everything” axiom. Whether you (and or your clientele) prefer the robust or more diminutive version, the flavor profile of the Wawenauks leads with a relatively high level of salinity (32-34 parts per thousand), which acquiesces to a pleasant simple-sugar finish. Ah, the Gulf of Maine! Just as a point of reference, the salinity of Earth’s oceans averages out at 35 parts per thousand. Our Wawenauks are meticulously maintained and manicured (i.e. chipped, groomed) throughout their formative stages, which facilitates the aforementioned cup definition and consistency in shape. After spending three or so months in the idyllic setting provided by the nursery’s upweller, the tiny Wawenauks are transferred to a series of floating bags, where they will remain until they attain a length of two inches (more or less). At this point, the oysters are removed from the floating ADPI bags, and divers hand plant the Wawenauks on the floor of the Damariscotta, where they will remain for the duration of their grow-out (right around two years). When harvest time comes around, the divers are once again summoned, and they retrieve the market size oysters from the soft-sand riverbed. After harvest, the Wawenauks are pressure washed and graded for size and quality. Only the finest specimens make it into bags and are then sent on to our Eliot, Maine facility. These premium Maine oysters will be packed-out in 100 counts, and should be available on a daily basis.
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