Today’s Friday Favorites is going to be a bit different than normal but even better as I have a giveaway! Instead of sharing recipes, articles, posts and other things that caught my eye this week, I’m going to share a recent adventure as well as foods related to that which I’m loving!
Last week I had the pleasure of joining five other bloggers and social media influencers (Gina, Vicki, Margaret, Michelle, and Paul) and the Fresh Direct team for a trip out to Long Island learning about one of my favorite foods – oysters! In case you’ve never heard of Fresh Direct, the company prides itself on bringing customers fresh, quality ingredients to their doorstep!
The Fresh Direct co-founder and “Chief Food Adventurer”, David McInerney, joined us for the day while we spent time with Blue Island Oyster Company, one of Fresh Direct’s primary oyster sources. Both companies know how to plan a great day. From time in the “classroom” learning about oysters to kayaking and grilling on the Long Island Sound, their passion for food and locally sourced products was at the root of everything.
We started the day at Blue Island Oyster Company which is located in West Sayville, Long Island. Founded in 1995 by Chris Quartuccio, Blue Island Oyster Company is the number one shellfish distributor in the New York area. Quartuccio has worked in the industry since the age of 12, when he began digging for clams. Over the years West Sayville has been a hub for the shellfish industry, once supporting 7,000 clam diggers. Today, only one shellfish company remains in West Sayville -Blue Island Oyster Company. They ship their shellfish all across the country and can be found on the menus of top restaurants in Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago and Boston.
After a brief history of the company and region, he led our group into the “nursery” where we we learned all about oysters and how they are spawned.
Oysters are typically 3 years old when they are harvested, however if farm raised that time can be reduced to 1.5 years. The farm raised oysters are incubated in barrels for 3 months before being transferred to the Great South Bay where they live until they reach maturity. Wild oysters have more mineral flavor than farm raised. Since oysters feast on algae, the company grows algae in large tanks.
Their top selling oyster, The Naked Cowboy, was inspired by the Naked Cowboy in Times Square after Chris drove past him back in the 90s. Though the name was once laughed at by restaurants, today the Waldorf, Four Seasons, Oceana and other top restaurants request them by name.
Today Fresh Direct’s partnership with Blue Island Oyster Company allows for Fresh Direct customers to enjoy these oysters within days of their harvest. Blue Island harvests them one afternoon and the next morning they head to Fresh Direct! On their website you can find steamer clams and six different types of oysters!
After learning all about oysters we headed out to the Blue Island Oyster Company’s floating dock in the Long Island Sound for an afternoon of grilling, dining and kayaking.
During our waterside picnic we were able to taste the delicious Blue Island steamers and oysters as well as an array of Fresh Direct’s food including lots of Summer favorites and items sourced from small farms and fisherman across the country. The team taught us some tips and tricks along the way such as how to shuck an oyster and perfectly grill rib eye and swordfish.
Our group could not stop remarking how delicious everything tasted! From prepared food to seafood, I was amazed! While I have shopped with Fresh Direct and love the convenience and assortment they provide, I had never tried their prepared foods, meats, seafood or cheeses.
This is where this week’s Friday Favorites comes in as I have since ordered many of these items and raved about them to friends and family! The Fresh Direct team, led by David their “Chief Food Adventurer” travel the world sourcing products and building relationship with local companies. The entire team were experts on everything we tasted, answering our questions and explaining how and why they chose certain products!
These are the products I fell head over heels for last Friday and have since then ordered.
- Naked Cowboy Oysters
- Bluepoint-Farm Raised Oysters
- Local Harvest Angus Boneless Rib Eye Steak
- Harpoon-Caught Swordfish Steaks
- FreshDirect Bumbleberry Pie
- Cypress Grove Chèvre Sgt. Pepper Goat Milk Cheese
- Cypress Grove Chèvre Purple Haze
- FreshDirect Corn and Black Bean Salad
- FreshDirect Cucumber and Seaweed Salad
- FreshDirect Kale, Farro, and Roasted Artichoke
- FreshDirect Quinoa and Raw Beet Salad
- Jumbo Rainier Cherries
- Shanley Farms Citriburst Finger Limes
- Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps, Fig & Olive
But, Fresh Direct and I don’t want you to take our word for it. We want you to experience Fresh Direct for yourself. You can click this link to enjoy $100 towards your first TWO orders! What better way to stock your fridge next week or help you get prepared for your next barbecue or party?
In addition, Fresh Direct and I want to give one lucky reader a $50 gift card.
Thank you again to Fresh Direct who hosted such a wonderful day and provided the gift for this giveaway.