Roadside shellfish stands have popped up around Southold Town thanks to a recent law that paved the way for oyster farmers to sell directly to consumers.
In late September, Founders Oyster Farm owner Steven Schnee rolled out a red wagon stocked with freshly harvested oysters in front of his Southold home. Beside the chilled oysters is a good-faith cash box that passersby can drop $15 into for a container of 13 oysters.
Schnee, who raises his oysters in the Peconic Bay, northwest of Shelter Island, plans to keep the stand, located at 140 Founders Path, open on weekends.
Until September, local oyster farmers were limited to selling at markets or to restaurants, or at special events and via home delivery. Not only does the new rule open up a new revenue stream, it gives farmers a chance to connect with their customers on a personal level, said Dave Daly, who owns Southold Bay Oysters with his husband, Ben Gonzalez. Daly and Gonzalez also recently set up an oyster stand at their farmhouse on Ackerly Pond Lane in Southold.
At Southold Bay Oysters’ self-serve stand, customers can pay $15 cash for a dozen oysters or use the payment app Venmo to purchase.
The new roadside stands came at a good time of year for oyster lovers. The “R” months — meaning months that end in “R,” September, October, November, and December — are when oysters are at their most meaty, Peconic Gold Oysters owner Matt Ketcham said. His stand is located at 21125 Route 48 in Cutchogue between Depot and Cox lanes.