"I hate these things" Eric said through a smile when we asked if we could get a picture of him. Not a ham for the limelight, Eric stood still for the picture, and then sent the crew in his place. Chris and Pete, both dedicated, seasoned farmers, and part of a crew known on the river as the Norumbega boys, ambled down the ramp, happy to be changing things up for the hour.
They sank the day's harvest into wet storage, and recounted bits and pieces of their time at the farm to us, while they poked fun at each other as only friends who have worked together forever do. They joked about that time Pete went on walkabout, deciding he needed to get a "real job", and that Chris knew he'd be back a year later, that Chris had never tried an oyster, and wasn't planning on starting now, and about how Eric couldn't stand to stay in the office on a nice day, and after a few hours inside with the sun shining, would zip out to the lease, living to be on the water, happy just to be on his farm on the river.
Norumbega is known for hefty, bottom cultured oysters, harvested by diver or drag, and they are a classic, quintessential Damariscotta River oyster. This go around, we are featuring his Rock Island Oysters. These are Eric's first shot at growing surface-cultured product, so that they can have enough oysters to stay open through the winter, as diving and dragging for their bottom planted oysters gets increasingly difficult as the Maine winter weather fights back. For a top-cultured oyster, they are hardy, shapely, easy to shuck and a treat to eat.