After leasing a portion of Duxbury Bay from the town, Skip Bennett settled on growing quahogs. Bennett, the son of a Duxbury fisherman, had been told it was a bad idea, and sure enough, his clams died.
He had another plan: oysters. But friends said this foray was crazier than the first. It was the early 1990s, and Bennett was in uncharted territory. Oysters are not native to Duxbury waters and did not grow in the bay.
Through much trial and error, the oyster beds were sown and eventually flourished, and today a wave of oyster growers is following in his footsteps.
“We learned by killing a lot of oysters,” said Bennett, owner of Island Creek Oysters. “It was before the Internet, so it was hard to get information.”
There are now about 30 oyster farms operating in Duxbury Bay, according to the harbormaster’s office. Their handiwork was on display last Sunday, when 12 farms fed a crowd of 300 guests at the Duxbury Oyster Festival, which raised $7,500 to benefit the Duxbury Student Union.
Under a white tent at the Winsor House Inn, with musical accompaniment from a live band, festival-goers sampled the freshly shucked bivalves donated from each farm. Duxbury oysters are known for their sweet-salty balance and buttery texture, though there are minor variations among farms, depending on their location in the bay.
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