Oyster Shucking House Reopens In Cambridge After Over 50 Years - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Oyster Shucking House Reopens In Cambridge After Over 50 Years

(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)
CAMBRIDGE, Md.- The JM Clayton Company in Cambridge is known for its crabs, not so much for their oysters.  That's because an oyster hasn't been shucked here for over 50 years. But this year, that is set to change.

Oyster after oyster, three men are the first oyster shuckers at the JM Clayton company since the 1960s.  The company once employed more than 100 shuckers, but as the oyster harvest dwindled, the operation was shut down.

Joe Brooks is the man in charge of this new venture, which is called Cambridge Creek Inc.  He says reopening the shucking house was a decision years in the making.

"The last two years has been good for oysters," Brooks said. "It takes us a little while to get going, but we thought we would try it, keep us a little more busy in the winter.  Winters can be long around here."

And it's been a learning process.  A lot goes into making sure the oysters being shucked are safe for the consumer.  But Brooks thinks he and his team are up to the task, showing us how an oyster is shucked.

"I go in with my fingers like that and I get to the muscle and cut the muscle loose, pry it open, and there you've got your oyster," he said.

The oyster is then cleaned, and packaged in a pint or a gallon tub for the wholesale.  It's a small operation now, but they hope to expand to 15 or so shuckers total, possibly more if it takes off.

"We have to start small.  Hard to know what it will grow into, but we're just trying to position ourselves that we can grow with it," said Brooks.

Next door at Snappers Restaurant, they have taken special delivery of one of the first batches.  And customers appreciate the freshly shucked oysters.

"Wonderful, wonderful.  They're very tender, not to salty, very good," said Sandy Seebach.

As of right now if you want some of these shucked oysters, you can only get them at snappers restaurant, here at JM Clayton, and they are testing out a retail store in Pennsylvania.  but they expect that to change very much so in the coming weeks.

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