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May 20, 2009 08:08 AM

Cape Cod Oysters close to the source

Years ago, I enjoyed oysters on Wellfleet Harbor at the Bookstore Restaurant/Pub. The oyster man would occasionally sit at the bar when he brought in the harvest. Any recent experiences at this place? Now I realize 'Wellfleet Oysters' is primarily a branding exercise - but I do like the idea of patronizing the small farmers who work their plots on the outer Cape.

Any sources of oysters close to the source? shucked or at market?

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  1. It may be too much of a toot. The Oyster Co. in Dennisport serves Dennis Oyster Co. Oysters. All I can say is yum.

    1. Not sure what you mean by "Welfleet Oyster" being a "branding" excersize. Welfleet oysters are just what one would expect, oysters harvested in Welfleet or its environs. Just like Barnstable Oysters are from, you guessed it, Barnstable, Cotuit oysters from Cotuit etc. Just about any fish market worth it's salt can tell you where their oysters come from. Many of the better ones may offer a choice, which is often the case at the always excellent Joe's Fish and Lobster in Sandwich.

      2 Replies
      1. re: CapeCodGuy

        In early October be sure to attend the Cape & Islands United Way oyster festival in Hyannis. Welfleet oysters are in residence every year as well as oysters from throughout the Cape and New England. It's a great event, held the last couple of years just past Ocean Street, on the grounds of the Maritime Museum near the Island ferry docks. My recollection on the cost is $35. But for an all-you-can-eat oyster banquet, well you do the math. There is no doubt info about this yummy at the C&IUW web site. A great event.

        1. re: CapeCodGuy

          Any fish market should be able to tell exactly where and when their oysters were harvested -- down to the exact bed in the shellfish grant. every wholesale bag or box of oysters comes with a shellfish tag.

        2. E Dennis Oyster Farm oysters are fantastic and have beaten out Wellfleets in a couple of tastings. They were sold weekends at a raw bar at Chapin's in E. Dennis, not sure when that ends for the season though. I do know they will also be sold at the Sand Dollar (primarily a beach bar, but fun for Happy Hour) in Dennisport during Happy Hour on the weekends in the summer. Oysters, littlenecks and shrimp all $1 per - a bargain and delicious!

          1. Most recent experience at Bookstore was last season. As always, the oysters were superb. We were there early for lunch, they brought in the day's picks just as we placed the order. Can't beat that for freshness, or quality. They apologized that they hadn't time to properly chill them, but we did not care. The previous day's picks made for very tasty fried oysters as well. There are other purveyors, but I have never had a less than excellent oyster experience at the Bookstore, over a number of years now.

            1. The Bookstore is fine. You can also buy them at Macs seafood market -- the guys will shuck them for you right there. Macs also has a newish restaurant down the road which is pretty good, although I keep finding the service a little off (doesn't stop me from going back, though.)

              I have been eating Chatham oysters all winter and they are REALLY great. I think they are better than Wellfleet oysters. Don't know if they are available commercially, but they are worth seeking out.