Jack Blake raises Sweet Neck Oysters in Martha's Vineyard's Katama Bay rich, warm waters and when the oysters reach an appropriate size transfers the oysters to a saltier, cooler open ocean waters in mid-water off bottom cages. Jake tumbles them with a wind power tumbler that he designed. The result is salty, large - 3.5" to 4", deeply cupped oysters filled with firm meats.
Mine are nearly oval, 3.5" to 4.5" with moderately deep to deep cups. The shells are lightly polished with a bone surface covered with various shades of brown and some green. The oysters are large and do not want to be opened and have the strength to thwart you - push through and persevere because the meat and liquor are excellent. The oysters smell like an ocean tidal pool with a light sea breeze and some seaweed. The liquor is salty, mineral and slightly astringent. I am drinking a Cider House 12 Chestnut Semi-Dry Cider and the tartness from the cider balances the astringency on the oyster's finish. The Sweet Necks are a mouthful. They have a rich, firm yet creamy texture with a little bit of chew. It leaves a residue of membrane but it is not off putting. the meat is salty and brothy with mushroom notes, a trace of muskiness and a hint of soft runny cheese and finishes with some grassy notes and some mild sweetness in the middle. The cider's carbonation cleans the palate and the apple from the cider helps softens the saltiness. It is a pleasant pairing that rates 80 - as does the oyster.