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Life on a New England Oyster Farm

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Bill Buford's Heat meets Phoebe Damrosch's Service Included in this unique blend of personal narrative, food miscellany, and history

In March of 2009, Erin Byers Murray ditched her pampered city girl lifestyle and convinced the rowdy and mostly male crew at Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Massachusetts, to let a completely unprepared, aquaculture-illiterate food and lifestyle writer work for them for a year to learn the business of oysters. The result is Shucked—part love letter, part memoir and part documentary about the world's most beloved bivalves.

Providing an in-depth look at the work that goes into getting oysters from farm to table, Shucked shows Erin's fullcircle journey through the modern day oyster farming process and tells a dynamic story about the people who grow our food, and the cutting-edge community of weathered New England oyster farmers who are defying convention and looking ahead. The narrative also interweaves Erin's personal story—the tale of how a technology-obsessed workaholic learns to slow life down a little bit and starts to enjoy getting her hands dirty (and cold). This is a book for oyster lovers everywhere, but also a great read for locavores and foodies in general.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 12, 2011 – Boston-area food blogger Murray writes about a year working on a Cape Cod oyster farm a demanding work cycle, with backbreaking duties. Often under spirit-crushing conditions, she was rapidly schooled in the tasks and tools of her crew position, quickly adjusting and becoming skilled at the work. Murray s own love of food and food writing informs the narrative, and she skillfully dramatizes the scenes of summertime sowing and depicts her many colorful co-workers. She eventually moves into the company offices as the farm expands its sustainable, beneficial practices in the restaurant industry and wider global village. She even does a day s work in the kitchens of Thomas Keller s Per Se and later reaps the immediate culinary benefits of the very oysters that she and her colleagues had laboriously harvested. Murray eschews poetic waxing on her subject and focuses closely on the action and the hard, hard work of farming, closing each chapter with a broad range of oyster recipes.

Customer Reviews

Not what I thought

The book goes more into the day to day life of the author and her relationship with her coworkers, husband and people shes met in her professional life. Without reading the preface, I assumed the book would be more about raising oysters and less of an autobiography.
It's well written and the parts about the actual farming are interesting and informative; I wish it would gave focused more on that because of how unique that part actually is. Everybody has good and bad relationships at work or issues with our better halves from time to time so those parts of the book were less enthralling than the unique experience the author had working on the farm.


As a Dux native, I loved seeing my town, bay, (and people I know) through Erin's eyes. I learned a tremendous amount of knowledge about oyster farming and have gained a new respect for the type of work that's gone into bringing my favorite oyster to my table. Erin is a fluid writer with a great eye for detail that conveys image and emotion. I try to get to ICO Bar a few times a year. Erin's description of the special Per Se dinner she shared with Skip and Shore has inspired me to save up for a special treat for my husband, also an ICO oyster lover. This was a great read for any one, who loves being on the water, who dreams of the water, and/or who thinks food from the sea is a gift from the gods. I loved the recipes scattered throughout the text.


Exceptionally told. I feel like I may actually know how to farm oysters! Erin captures the essence of the bay, the town, and it's people right down to the serenity, maelstroms, & camaraderie. Having grown up with Skip & Don Merry, I couldn't be happier for them. For those who grew up in Duxbury, this book will bring you home. For those that don't know the town, this book will introduce you to one of the greatest places on earth!

View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Oct 11, 2011
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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