How to eat an oyster
in Bluffton, S.C.
How a memorable family trip brought us together over oysters . . . and introduced us to Low Country magic.
1. Find Pepper’s Porch Start on the main street of Bluffton on a farmer’s market day, for the exotic bounties of the region. Then walk the quintessential southern town’s May River Road to the 100-year-old barn that houses a transplanted New York Greek chef’s restaurant, and his eclectic take on southern food.
2. Take a Swing Get on that tire and swing for a while above the humpy surface of the outdoor dance floor, which vibrates at night with line dancing. At noon, it’s deserted, shaded and a gift to remember for its authentic Low Country vibe.
3. Look Up Gaze at the 300-year-old live oaks, strung with Spanish Moss. Absorb the thick, sweet, humid air that seeps in through that massive canopy.
4. Take a deep breath Enjoy the sharp, elemental smell of freshly harvested oysters in the bucket you’ve been served. Brimming with juice when opened, they’re from the May River a short walk away. The heel of the oyster, in the deep part of the shell, is exactly the right color and the flesh is plump.
5. Appreciate the history Not yet, but in a while, walk to the Bluffton Oyster Company’s historic premises, where recycling barely keeps up with the shells. The Toomers family has fished these waters for a century and operates one of the last hand-shucking oyster houses in the Carolinas.
6. Dive in It takes time, muscle & good wrist action to open these sharp-edged shells, which come attached to stalks that anchor oysters to the river bottom against the power of the tides.
7. Shared shucking We share the shucking as a family, nibbling fried green tomatoes and other specialties as we go. When the leisurely afternoon is over, we agree it’s a Top 10 memorable meal.
I was born and raised on a Carolina sea island and I carry the sunshine of the Low Country, inked in dark gold, on my back and shoulders
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