Steve and I LOVE raw oysters. Fried oysters, oyster stew, oyster dressing, oyster po’ boys, etc. are all great, but the raw ones are extra-special. Until a few weeks ago, we’d only eaten them raw, served in an ice-filled tray with cocktail sauce and crackers. But, when we visited Murder Point Oyster Farm, we saw them come directly out of the water where they were shucked on the spot and handed to us in their purest, freshest form. With just a hint of saltiness, they were plump, buttery and delicious.
Oyster farming is hard work!! Dr. Bill Walton, affectionately known as “Dr. Oyster,” is an expert in this field and has proven to be a huge resource for oyster farmers along the Gulf Coast. The fact that he’s associated with Auburn University makes him particularly good — in my humble opinion. 🙂
Murder Point is owned by the Zirlatt family, and we had a chance to meet Rosa, the matriarch and her son Lane on the morning we visited. Try to imagine what it must be like to do your farming in a wetsuit or in waders that go up to your armpits. Oysters at Murder Point are grown in baskets that are suspended just below the surface of the water. Those canisters are “shaken up” regularly which encourages the shells to grow deeper rather than wider and discourages barnacles from forming. So, the shells on these oysters are remarkably clean and unblemished. As a result, the oyster residing inside grows to perfection. So much so, that in some restaurants, they are sold for $3.00 each!! The Murder Point oysters are definitely deserving of a gourmet market. You can read much more about the oyster farming process on the website here, plus there are entertaining and informative videos.
And I have to add that I was very impressed with the Zirlatt family — its closeness and the work ethic so evident. I liked Rosa immediately. She was involved in so much of our visit, but especially in showing us the baby oysters in the “nursery.” I learned that she has 11 grandchildren and cooks lunch for the whole family every Sunday. I’m sure that contributes greatly to their family bonding. Good for her!! And her son Zane has boyish good looks, a great smile and obviously loves his work. This family were formerly shrimpers and were looking for a way to diversify. They found it in oysters.
I’m afraid I’ve now become something of an Oyster Snob and doubt that any will ever live up to the standards at Murder Point. If you get a chance, for goodness sakes, try them! Amazing. Fisher’s in Orange Beach and 5 Point Public House Oyster Bar in Birmingham feature them, as well as other “discerning” restaurants around the country.
Follow them on Twitter #butterlove.