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A Reason to Kiss the Sea: Montauk Pearl Oysters

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"I'm a dreamer. I've always been a dreamer, and I like to dream. And this company, which we've started on a dream, is going to continue on a dreamy kind of path. It's heaven. This is heaven."

Meet Mike & Mike. Mike Martinsen and Mike Doall, the founders of Montauk Shellfish Company, a commercial fisherman and marine biologist who've teamed up to give back to their community and pay respect to the Earth by launching Montauk's very first oyster farm: Montauk Pearls.

Montauk Pearls are new to the oyster scene, and the success of their operation has given the East End a new found interest in aquaculture. The two Mikes started their surface grow out system in 2009, leasing out a very unique and hard-to-come-by plot of private land in Lake Montauk. A plot of land that just-so-happened to be underwater. As the story goes, Mike M happened to be living on the property and asked his landlord if he could use it for farming. Luckily, his landlord said yes.

"It just seems like things all just lined up, almost like fate." - Mike Martinsen

Feedback has been so positive that demand for the "pearls" has already exceeded supply. Five-star chefs in New York and Long Island are featuring their oysters on menus, as are select seafood joints, like Maison Premiere in Brooklyn and The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. According to Mike D, "once you open one up, they basically sell themselves."

And it's true. I was sold from the first super briny slurp: a snappy crispness to the meat (and there's a lot of it), and a finish that tasted of slightly-sweet, fresh watermelon rind. Really, it's Mike M's surf-related description that makes me smile most:

"It reminds me of being out in the ocean at sunset...a double-overhead swell, perfect off-shore winds, a little rainbow blowing off the back of the wave. It's like that salt taste of the mist when you're coming down a wave in through a barrel. It's that sea taste: misty, salty, ocean bliss". You really can't say it better than that!

Enjoy their beautiful story, shot just a few weeks ago. And thanks for watching and supporting food. curated.! It's been a slow start for me in 2012, but good things are happening again and, thankfully, I'm back on track. Happy slurping!

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