EMPIRE OYSTERS ARE RARE & EXOTIC because they are basically the only completely wild, ultra-premium cold-water oysters that are HAND FORAGED BY SCUBA DIVERS.
EMPIRE OYSTERS ARE BORN, RAISED AND CAUGHT … WILD!
100 years ago almost all oysters were “caught” and “wild”. But these days over 99.9% of premium oysters are farmed. (God Bless those oysters and those who grow them!) EMPIRE OYSTERS are 100% wild which means ABSOLUTELY NO HUSBANDRY, WHATSOEVER, is involved in their production. They are singular product in this regard. Sure, they are different but not “out there” or an acquired taste. Still they are a familiar and approachable oyster with mass appeal due to a medium brine and a medium mineral finish. They spend their entire life on the bottom, in deeper water than most oysters and this gives them a particular "MERROIR" that is unlike any other oyster. Also, they enjoy no protection from predators like crabs, drills, boring sponge or starfish. So, what makes it to market is, in fact, the fittest of the fit. This creates additional value in yield, mouthfeel and taste.
WATCH OUR FILM
"The Oyster Divers Of Long Island Sound"
The Oyster Divers of Long Island Sound Premiering at the 2014 Food Film Festival in New York, The Oyster Divers introduces a group of Baymen who hand pick wild oysters in Long Island Sound. The practice of handpicking wild oysters is very rare. The majority of oysters we eat are grown in farms at the surface of the water. Other wild oyster practices include 'raking', which involves dragging a rake along the sea floor, creating larger scale, and often unseen damage and disturbance. By handpicking the oysters, not only are the divers able to choose the correct size (over 3 inches), thereby leaving the younger, underdeveloped oysters to grow, they also cause only a minor disturbance to the surrounding habitat. Oysters are also well known to clean and filter the ocean, and several US harbor cities, including New York and Boston, have programs to reintroduce oysters to the waters in an effort to reduce pollution and encourage healthier habitats (www.billionoysterproject.org and www.massoyster.org). In the part of the Long Island Sound where the film is set, the water is some of the cleanest on the Northeast coast. The presence of oysters plays a big part in that. Filmed in collaboration with Empire Oyster and NY Oyster Week co-founder Kevin Joseph, featuring music by Nils Frahm and The American Dollar (www.theamericandollar.info). November 2014