MAS­TER CLASS

ON THE COAST OF RHODE IS­LAND, AN OYS­TER­MAN HOSTS THE UL­TI­MATE BIVALVE BASH. WE TAGGED ALONG FOR A CRASH COURSE IN OYS­TERS SO YOU CAN PULL OFF AN EPIC FEAST OF YOUR OWN.

Rachael Ray Every Day - - Contents - TEXT BY SARAH KARNASIEWICZ PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY ME­LANIE ACEVEDO

A Rhode Is­land oys­ter­man schools us in briny bi­valves.

What’s it like to wear a bathing suit and water shoes to a din­ner party? If you snag a ticket to the Wal­rus and Car­pen­ter Oys­ters sum­mer din­ner se­ries, you can find out.

In 2009 Jules Op­ton-him­mel started Rhode Is­land–based Wal­rus and Car­pen­ter with a two-pronged goal: grow­ing briny, but­tery oys­ters and help­ing to re­store the en­vi­ron­ment. To­day he and his crew plant 2 to 3 mil­lion of the ocean-fil­ter­ing bi­valves ev­ery year on eight wa­tery acres along the south­ern New Eng­land coast and sup­ply oys­ters to more than 50 lo­cal chefs.

It was the buzz about his oys­ters—cou­pled with his ea­ger­ness to spread the gospel about the crea­tures’ eco-friend­li­ness—that prompted Op­ton-him­mel to start host­ing the fun and in­for­ma­tive din­ners. The events be­gin with a tour of the farm and a chance to slurp the oys­ters straight from the wa­ters where they’re grown. Af­ter the apps, guests sit down to a white-table­cloth mul­ti­course feast on a pic­tureper­fect sand­bar. With just eight din­ners planned ev­ery sum­mer and 48 seats at each, Op­ton-him­mel in­sti­tuted an on­line lot­tery sys­tem, so get­ting a place at the ta­ble is ba­si­cally the luck of the draw.

But even if you don’t hit the Wal­rus and Car­pen­ter jack­pot, you can still throw an awe­some oys­ter party. (Se­ri­ously!) To help you get ready, we quizzed Op­ton-him­mel and other seafood ex­perts to find out the truth about the tasty shell­fish and how to shop and shuck with con­fi­dence. So what are you wait­ing for? It’s oys­ter o’clock!

What’s a beach party with­out mu­sic? Get the per­fect fun- inthe- sun playlist at rachael­ray­mag .com/spo­tify.

Wal­rus and Car­pen­ter Oys­ters owner Jules Op­tonHim­mel (op­po­site page) out on the water with ca­nine “farmhands” Clam­cake (front) and Tau­tog. Crew mem­ber Mitch Mc­grane preps a pile of just- har­vested bi­valves (left). Guests raise a toast (be­low) from their seats on the sand­bar. (Check out that view!) The star of the party: a freshly shucked oys­ter (be­low left).

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