May means raw bars, shuck offs, and seed

I've heard it at least five times in the last two weeks: "You guys are everywhere." It's true. The Island Creek crew does make the rounds. Last weekend alone, we were in New York for the Lucky Rice Asian Food Festival on Friday...

...where chef Jonathan Wright from the Setai Miami paired our oysters with fried pork belly and kimchee (it was an insane combination that drew ravenous crowds...

...along with chef David Chang of Momofuku fame who we couldn't manage to capture on film) ... before setting up two separate raw bars on Sunday, one at Harvard Square's May Fair with the Russell House Tavern and the other at B&G Oysters for their annual Oyster Invitational.

It was a long day of shucking in the sunshine and snacking on grilled sausages, lobster rolls, and oysters. We met some great Island Creek fans and even put Chris into the shucking competition where he promptly cut himself -- don't worry, he's ok -- but still came in second place.

We were also voted best oyster of the bunch, thank you very much! And our friends at Moon Shoals came one vote shy of beating us -- incredibly stiff competition.

Thanks to Barbara, Jen, Chef Stephen and the gang for another incredible spring party.

So here we are, smack in the middle of raw bar season. We've got fundraisers, Nantucket Wine Fest, and Chefs in Shorts on our horizon -- some seriously entertaining events. But this is the time of year to do it since patios are opening and folks are coming out of hiding. In just a few short weeks, the farm kicks in to full gear and summer crews arrive, which means our raw bars will take a back seat. We have a few lined up for June but that should be it since the majority of our down time will consist of sleeping and fretting about seed.

I can practically taste my return to the farm these days. The 70-degree heat and sunshine don't exactly deter my excitement. Plus, Berg came back from Africa this week, putting us one man closer to a summer crew. We toasted him with a few cups of Oyster Stout (our only keg is finally tapped) at an afternoon barbecue yesterday.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Shop Friday without A2 who drove all the way back from New Hampshire for the festivities. Good to see you buddy!

Skip came to the barbecue a little late -- he'd been out in the back river and was anxious to show me the first of his seed. Sorry I don't have a picture but the little guy was a nice, healthy couple millimeters long! Skip's keeping the seed up in the river until the upwellers go in, which should be happening any day. The next few weeks, the oysters will start to double in size almost daily -- and once again, we have a seed season underway.

Guess that means it's time for me to hang up the suit and throw on some boots. Two more weeks and I'm back on the farm!