A few of my fondest summer memories as a child were spent sitting around a cooler full of ice watching my dad shuck clams with my uncles. He’d share a few clams here and there as he shucked, and I was one of the few females at the party who enjoyed a raw clam drenched in Tabasco sauce.
Once old enough to have the dexterity to use a clam knife, my father and uncles taught me how to shuck my own clams. I took pride in my ability to shuck and slurp them down. I feel as though shucking is a skill, sort of like juggling; not everyone knows how to do it, and people are usually impressed when you show them you can.
When I recently came across a small bait shop with young men and women running about sporting shirts instructing me to shuck myself, I immediately knew I had to find out more about this place.
What I learned was this wasn’t just a tackle shop, but rather a small eatery serving fresh local clams and oysters.
Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market, located adjacent to the Mitchell Park Marina, is the perfect setting for anyone looking to hang out for an hour with friends who like myself and fellow patron Jessica LaSota enjoy a quick dozen oysters.
“It has a great boutique feel,” LaSota said. “We are just visiting Greenport for the day, and wanted to pop into a few different places, just try one or two things on the menu. It’s very casual with a court-like setting, and the yachts are amazing to look at while we try three different types of oysters.”
“It’s low key, casual, and simple,” said another patron in town for just a day. “If you want to go get some clams or oysters, you pull up, and they’ve got you covered. Compared to other seafood places on Long Island, here you don’t have to worry that the oysters were sitting around —they taste fresh, and you know they’re locally grown.”
While sitting amongst those shuckers, both first-timers and veterans alike, I was able to catch up with owner Rosalie Rung to learn more about Little Creek. She believes the popularity of the oyster shack is due to the attraction people have to Greenport in general.
“There are a lot of new businesses created by young entrepreneurs, and although we are off the beaten path, this is more of an experience for people, rather than a restaurant,” she said.
Rung went on to tell me she and her husband, Ian Wile, brought the oyster business to the more than 100-year-old bait shop and that they strive to keep the history of the building intact. Rung and Wile have no plans to expand the menu, which consists primarily of locally grown oysters and clams. The regional tasting room serves seafood not only from their oyster farm, but other farms in the area as well. They also utilize products from other local businesses, including the pepper and horseradish sauces on the tablesand beer from Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market evolved from a small self-shucking station, to an experience where you can learn to shuck while enjoying a pint of beer and an extraordinary view. For those who don’t want to shuck their own clams, have no fear, the friendly staff will open all the clams and oysters for you.
Aside from dipping your toes into the Peconic Bay and fishing them out yourself, Little Creek oysters are as fresh as you can get and paired with their shallot and white vinegar dressing, there’s no way you can go wrong.
Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market is open Wednesday through Sunday and is located at 37 Front Street, down Bootleg Alley. It’s a tucked away gem you need to experience.
The author is a 26-year-old Connecticut school teacher spending summer break in Peconic for the first time and blogging about it on northforker.com. Next week she’ll make her final stop before heading back to reality. We’re anxious to find out where she’ll pop up for the grand finale.
In the meantime, check out her other stops along the way: