It’s not that Maine oysters are a different species than the Atlantic oyster, eastern oyster, American oyster—in fact, they are all one and the same. The Crassostrea virginica is the only true native oyster species found along the eastern coast of the Americas.
What distinguishes the taste of the Maine variety of Crassostrea virginica is mainly due to their growing conditions. Maine oysters are cultured in farms located in estuaries fed by Maine’s clear, clean, frigid ocean waters. The types of phytoplankton and nutrients oysters feed on, the water salinity, its flow, and temperature—what constitutes the river system itself—those differences may be nuanced, but can affect the shape, size, look, taste, and color of each oyster.
Where to Get Oysters in Maine
When in Maine this summer, enjoy the locally sourced, responsibly harvested oysters. Here are five must-go places to not only enjoy but experience Maine oysters:
The Shop by Island Creek Oysters | 123 Washington Avenue | Portland
Find some of the freshest and tastiest hand-picked selection of Maine oysters at the Shop—part market, part retail shop, and part dine-in raw bar. Island Creek Oysters supply restaurants coast to coast with some of the world’s best oysters. While in Portland, stop by the Shop to pick up an order to go. If you want to dine in, enjoy a platter of oysters in the chic warehouse-style space or out onto the front patio.
Maine Oyster Company | 38 Portland Street | Portland
As Maine oysters have continued to grow in popularity, consider oyster farms like the Maine Oyster Company as a big reason why. Its “Farm-to-Slurp Certified” oysters can be enjoyed at the oyster raw bar and restaurant located in Portland’s up-and-coming West Bayside neighborhood. The Maine Oyster Company is more than simply an oyster bar, however. The company works with over 30 Maine oyster farms to ensure customers receive the highest quality and freshest, sustainably harvested oysters. A hidden oasis, book a spot to dine in or place an order to go and enjoy some of the very best Maine sweet oysters.
Glidden Point Oysters Farms | 637 River Road | Edgecomb, Maine
Cultivated in the frigid waters of the Damariscotta River Estuary at a depth of about 40 feet, Glidden Point Oysters offer a premium quality, choice-grade oyster praised by chefs and oyster aficionados alike. Recognized as one of the cleanest estuaries in the Northeast, the Damariscotta River is rinsed twice daily with fresh, briny waters of the Gulf of Maine. It is here on these shores where ancient shell middens were discovered over 150 years ago, which Native Americans and early settlers left behind after feasting upon the wild Damariscotta River oysters are grown slowly, feeding on the naturally occurring phytoplankton, and harvested by hand. Renowned for their clean, crisp taste, and big brine flavor, visiting Glidden Point Oysters Farms is a must.
North Beacon Oyster | 421 Main St. | Rockland, Maine
If your question is, ‘More oysters?’, the answer is always yes at North Beacon Oyster. The cozy, relaxed oyster bar in the heart of Rockland serves up more than a fine selection of local oysters, seafood, meats, and produce, along with a choice of craft beer, cocktails, and a thoughtful wine list. Order local oysters raw, fried oysters, or enjoy oysters Rockefeller—you’ll not be disappointed with a visit to North Beacon Oyster.
Eventide Oyster Company | 86 Middle Street | Portland, Maine
In the spirit of the great American oyster bar, Eventide Oyster Company is a nationally recognized and renowned James Beard Award-winning restaurant. Small in size and large in stature, the restaurant happens to serve up pristine oysters and some of the best seafood in the city. Situated near the East End, you’ll find fresh Maine oysters shucked to order. Along with one of the most famous lobster rolls in town, served with nutty brown butter in a homemade steamed bun, Eventide is a widely popular spot that has rocked seafood lovers since it opened in 2012.
Bring Maine Oysters Home
If you are looking to bring the fresh, clean taste of Maine’s waters home, we ship local seafood (including oysters!) right to your doorstep. If you are local, we do curbside pick-up. Contact us today to get your order.