Oyster farming is a growing industry in Maine with over 80 oyster farms located along the Maine coast. Maine oysters are renowned for their quality which is attributed to the clean and cold water of the North Atlantic. Similar to Maine’s fame as a haven for lobsters, the same conditions make it an ideal place for oysters. Make sure to set aside some of your vacation time to learn about the area’s oyster history. There are also many oyster restaurants located near our vacation rentals
in the Boothbay Harbor region.
Types of Maine Oysters
The oysters grown here in Maine are the American or Eastern oysters which is a native species. The European Flat oyster was introduced here and grows wild in Mid Coast Maine. Even though the oysters grown here are the same species, they vary in how they look and taste due to different growing conditions such as temperature, flow, salinity and algae that are different from river to river and locations along the river. Thus, the oysters are named after the area where they were harvested.
There is a concentration of oyster farms here in Mid Coast Maine. If you would like to know more about oysters and farming, there are opportunities close by. Take a boat tour with Damariscotta River Cruises or with Midcoast Kayak. You can also visit some of the oyster farms along the River. Go to the Maine Oyster Trail website for an interactive map
of the farms and information about farms you can visit.: Maine Oyster Trail.
Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site
Another interesting thing to do is to visit the Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site in Damariscotta. This attraction allows visitors to explore a trail and features interpretive signs that explain the many oyster shells left by native Americans The shell heaps, referred to as “middens” were left by Native Americans over a 1000-year period. The property is owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Land and operated cooperatively with Coastal River Conservation Trust.
After learning about the types of oysters, farms, and history, there’s no better thing to do than visit one of the area’s oyster restaurants. There are many restaurants in Boothbay Harbor that serve oysters, including picturesque waterfront establishments. Many of these restaurants source them from local seafood markets or directly from oyster farms. See the Maine Oyster Trail map
for a listing of restaurants that serve them.