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Have Boat, Will Travel

We woke up this morning to a sight we haven’t seen in a few years, a sheet of ice a few inches thick that spanned the width of the Bay from the harbor to the beach.  The forecast is looking like this arctic air isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so there’s a chance things will be locked up more or less through February.  I’m pretty excited about this because its been a while; the last few winters have been incredibly mild and its wreaked havoc on crops from corn to cranberries.  So while this cold snap doesn’t bode well for oyster farmers (who’ve had a few cushy, frostbite-free winters here) most of us around here view it as something positive for the oysters themselves.  The deep freeze of winter knocks back pest populations from parasites to deer ticks to seagulls.

Each year, while our little oysters are snuggly ensconced in a protective layer of mud, hibernating through New England’s meteorological dark side, the Island Creek marketing circus hits the road for a magical mystery tour.  Its an opportunity to spend some QT with our raw bar boat and most importantly our beloved customers and friends.

There are many perks involved when you decide to take the plunge and become and official ostreaphile: you’re doing your part for the marine environment andsustainable protein production; studies show you are perceived by your peers to be at least 30% more sophisticated; and you’ve got instant pH balance for your vegetable garden; but perhaps the best perk of all is a better love life.  Oysters are, after all, nature’s most powerful aphrodisiac and this is not lost on us.  We always like to think outside the box for Valentine’s Day, so we’ll be hitting the slopes this year on Thursday, February 14th for a shuck-your-heart-out V-day bash at Sugarloaf USA ski area in Maine.  A crew of us will be holding it down slopeside at the Widowmaker so come with your Valentine or looking for one, doesn’t matter, we’ll fill you with oysters and drink in a fitting pre-cursor to a romantic weekend on the hill.  We’ve also got you covered if you’re planning to be a little more homeward-bound with your sweetie this year.

You can also catch us shucking on  February 9th back in Boston at the House of Blues for the VIP hour of Big Brother Big Sister’s “Big Night Out” with musical accompaniment by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Sharon Jones and Dap Kings.

Following these north-country shenanigans, the circus will be heading to warmer climes, namely, South Beach for the Wine and Food Festival with Food & Wine Magazine and the Food Network.  We’ll be yuking it up with the best and brightest in the industry.  We’ll be hosting the Island Creek Oyster Bash with good buddy Ming Tsai atop the Hotel Victor, shucking at the American Express VIP after party on Friday night, and waxing poetic on the link between oysters and wine in our seminar “Merroir – Terroir” with Union Square Hospitality Group wine director, John Ragan.  Odds are split 50/50 right now on whether or not CJ will bring his bikini.

After a brief restbit back in Boston seeing old friends at the Seafood Show, its off to Austin, Texas for the legendary South by Southwest Tech/ Film/ Music Festival where we’ll be teaming up with Getty ImagesBerklee College of Music, and Boston friends Chef Louie and My Secret Boston for a series of parties spanning March 12-16.  And don’t worry, team Island Creek will definitely be “keeping Austin weird”.

And then we’ll come back and it will be spring… and time for another blog post.

★ Chris Sherman is Island Creek’s vice president.  He likes oysters almost as much as he likes hyperlinks.  Follow him on Twitter: @moresaltplease 

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