On the Bay


NOTES OF A GASTRONOME about oyster farmer Mike Osinski. Mike Osinski was an acquaintance of the writer who lived in his apartment building. One day, the writer ran into Osinski on the street. He was now living in Greenport, Long Island. “I'm a bayman!” (Baymen are the region's traditional seafood hunter-gatherers.)…”I harvest oysters. I'm a new man…” Osinski was born in 1954, and grew up in Mobile, Alabama. The writer ran into him a year later, after a morning of his deliveries. Gramercy Tavern had taken his oysters and other restaurants-Esca, Four Seasons, BLT Fish, La Bernardin-had followed. Greenport is 100 miles from Manhattan, on the upper reaches of Peconic Bay. Mentions Sandy Ingber, the chef at Grand Central's Oyster Bar. Osinski's oysters are called Widow's Holes, after the pond behind his house. The writer went oyster harvesting with Osinski one cold December morning. Describes the history of oyster farming. Greenport mayor Dave Kapell told the writer about two giant canneries-Lester & Toner Company and the Long Island Oyster Company-which went bankrupt in the 1960s. Oyster consumption dropped in the late 20th century due to overharvesting, pestilence, and pollution. 

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