As many worthwhile endeavors do, Island Creek Oysters started as a crazy idea. Skip Bennett planted his first oysters in 1995 after three years growing quahogs in Duxbury Bay. He was told by many he was moving from growing something bad to something even worse. After years of trial and error, and some undeniably delicious oysters, Skip was joined in his adventure by Christian Horne, an oyster farmer from Maine, and shortly thereafter by Don Merry, the owner of a local fish market.
By 2000, the group had grown with the addition of Skip’s father Bill Bennett. Between these four, Island Creek began selling oysters to local restaurants from the back of a pickup truck. In the early days there weren’t enough oysters to supply the restaurants, so chefs simply said we’ll take whatever you’ve got. Through this commitment to chefs and the big tides and big salt of Duxbury Bay, Island Creek Oysters has grown into one of the largest oyster companies in the United States.
Today, Island Creek Oysters’ team includes 35 employees in the wholesale company, ten Island Creek farms here in Duxbury, a non-profit foundation active on two continents, five Boston-area restaurants, and an ever-growing stable of other fine farmers from around Cape Cod (and from as far away as the West Coast). The distribution arm, Island Creek Oysters, Inc. sells over 200,000 oysters a week. From the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast, as far north as Canada, and as far south as the Caribbean, Island Creek Oysters can be found on menus such as The French Laundry, Per Se, Next, and even the White House.
While some seasons are better than others, one thing has never changed; Skip’s original commitment to growing the finest oysters in the world while having a damn good time doing it.