NOTE: Please visit oystertrailmaine.org for the latest information.
It's Spring of 2015, and the wheels of oyster tourism in the state of Maine have most certainly started to spin. Last year, two companies just started to dip their proverbial toes in the waters of tourism and found to their satisfaction that America's renewed love affair with the oyster is alive and well, and that all things Maine continue to be a strong draw.
The Nonesuch Oyster Company did a very brisk business with tours in 2014, and is set to continue the trend this year. Owner Abigail Carroll put together an enjoyable and informative tour of the nursery and growout sites, and with her site in the Scarborough River, she's near greater Portland and an easy visit for visitors coming up the coast. The main draw of course is the oysters: each guest gets 6 freshly-shucked oysters, and they'll provide lemons and mignonette; BYOB.
Damariscotta River Cruises is owned and operated by Chip Holmes and Olga Oros, and is set in the middle of oyster country in Maine - the Damariscotta River. The 50' River Tripper can accommodate up to 49 guests, they have a suite of cruises for the oyster and nature enthusiast alike and they even serve oysters from several Damariscotta River farms at their well-stocked bar, right aboard the boat. With easy access for larger and smaller groups alike (minimum is 6 passengers), they are well set up for letting people into the on-the-water world of oyster farming, and are gearing up for wine and oyster pairings for 2015.
Coming later in 2015 will be oyster farm tours by Mark Green of Basket Island Oyster Company. Mark is a PhD. researcher and professor by day, with a specialty in ocean chemistry and shellfish growth, but has found time to develop his oyster company in Casco Bay. The views of the bay are delightful, and the proximity to Portland, the foodie capitol of Maine, ensures that there are plenty of opportunities for those with shellfish on their minds.
Please also consult our on-line Google Map of the Maine Oyster Trail. Here, you'll also find a list of some of the farms that want to hear from you, suggestions about where to buy Maine-grown oysters at retail, and which restaurants that are serving Maine oysters.
We are working to advance and improve the Maine Oyster Trail (below), so stay tuned for some exciting updates in 2015. For more information, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 207.563.8186, or Sebastian Belle, of the Maine Aquaculture Association, at 207.622.0136, email@example.com.