Westport’s Ritzy Oysters

This weekend, alert — and hungry — “06880” reader Keith Lombardo is at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida. The hotel restaurant — Jack Dusty — has a great raw bar.

Keith asked about the oysters. The waiter said they had 3. But “the signature ones that everyone loves are from Westport, Connecticut.”

Keith did not order them. He gets his Westport oysters often enough at Pearl at Longshore.

But, he says, the waiter was right. Everyone in Sarasota loved them!


8 responses to “Westport’s Ritzy Oysters

  1. Our secret is ‘out.’ How lovely…save some for us!

  2. Here’s some history from my research on local oystering: Jeff Northrop’s colonial ancestors had been granted some tidal lands by the Monarchy with the right of inherited perpetuity. In addition, Northrop’s relatives acquired shellfish bed leases in Mill Pond in the 1850s. Even back then his family knew that shellfish beds were only as good as what was planted on them, and that one could not rely on a natural “set” to guarantee a steady crop of oysters and clams. Northrop’s relatives were some of the first in the area to practice the art of cultivating oysters and clams from transplanted seed stock.
    In 1857, seed oysters were purchased from Blue Point Long Island and placed in the Mill Pond. Oysters from the pond were then transferred to deeper beds known as “grow out” beds where they aged to harvestable maturity.
    In the early 1900s, a blight devastated Long Island oysters. The blight did not affect the oysters in Mill Pond, a unique environment protected from predation by sea stars and with just the right salinity for a healthy stock of oysters to grow. It was then that the Northrops came to the rescue and provided seed oysters for Peconic Bay on Long Island.
    Jeff Northrop has worked hard, through many challenges to get to his oyster production of today. It’s a win-win with Northrop’s oysters: oysters can filer 100 gallons of water a day, helping to improve the water quality of Mill Pond, and the oysters can provide a nutritious delight all over the US.

  3. I’m not sure which of the oysters depicted in the image above hails from Westport – but I’m leaning towards the one which has parked itself against the sign at a drunken angle.

  4. Sally Campbell Palmer

    Thanks, Rindy. Three cheers for the Northrups!

  5. Werner Liepolt

    This is a heartening story of growing success… Northrop’s oyster farming of Hummock Island oysters plus Blooms’ Copps Island enterprise place local oysters at the height of desirability.

    • Totally agree, Werner. Westporters owe it to themselves to try our local oysters. They’re absolutely terrific!

  6. Love this! Thanks for sharing this, Dan!

  7. I’m a transplant from Westport living in Sarasota — So glad to add this to the many good reasons to always return…