For most, the end of summer in New England marks the end of flocking to the beach, the end of sinking your feet into the sand, the end of dipping your toes into the water and letting the waves slowly pull you in. As winter comes, the likes of Cape Cod and its beaches – once lit up by the warm summer sun – are a mere memory, stored away until the next year.
That’s not the case for everyone though. When it comes to going down the Cape, my dad for one doesn’t follow the sun, he follows the moon.
For years I’ve had the great fortune of enjoying the freshest and most delicious oysters you can find thanks to my dad’s sporadic trips down the Cape to pluck them out of the muddy Wellfleet beach. By sporadic I mean, he doesn’t simply look at his calendar for long and open weekends, he maps his journeys with a tide chart. If the tide is going to be perfect on a random Sunday, that’s the day he goes. If it’s right smack in the middle of winter, that’s the day he goes.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining him on a trip and it was all business. We hit the road at 4:00 a.m. and about two hours later we found ourselves in a garden of oysters just waiting to be picked.
And since they grow in clusters, we had to pick through every little bouquet to find those big enough to legally take home. Then, we packed as many as possible into a single bucket.
Before we knew it, we were back home by early afternoon enjoying the fruits of our labor.
I’ve had a lot of oysters over the years, but I can say, the best are those you pick yourself.