If you’re anything like us, you seek out the same experiences every summer: the sensation of the sun on your skin, time out on the water, and as many oysters as your stomach can handle. So you can imagine our excitement when we were introduced to Hummock Island Oyster tours, which deliver all three of our most summery desires—and so much more for so much longer, offering their exceptional tours from Memorial Day through late fall.
An oyster farm startup in Westport, Connecticut, Hummock Island has been owned by the Northrop family since 1857—and has been legendary for its oysters ever since.
“Oyster farming is the core of Hummock Island,” says Jeff Northrop Jr., who returned to Westport following a successful stint working on Wall Street, to revitalize his family’s business in 2013. “About five years ago, I looked around and saw all of these mom-and-pop oyster farmers just scraping by. Nobody was using technology. So I said, ‘Okay, we need to disrupt this industry.’ And we have. We supply the oysters for Blue Hill. We work with a lot of great chefs.”
Since then, Northrop has found a way to disrupt the food tourism industry, as well.
Experiences make the best gifts, not things. This holiday season, give someone you love a ticket for the @hummockisland oyster tour – link in bio. The tours run weekly from May – September and include a boat ride, oyster tasting, and shucking lesson. You’ll also learn how oysters are grown using modern technology and how they benefit the environment. Everyone leaves with a smile on their face and a great story to tell, not to mention some incredible selfies.
Enter Hummock Island Oyster Tours
Last year, for the first time in history, Hummock Island began offering tours of its oyster farming operation to the public. To the surprise of many—but not to Northrop Jr., a gifted entrepreneur—the sunset boat tours were an immediate success, with ticket sales exceeding both company and community expectations its very first season.
“We didn’t even advertise,” says Northrop Jr. “Everyone found us by word-of-mouth.”
“I knew we were tapping into something exciting,” says Northrop Jr. “But I couldn’t believe how quickly the tours caught on. It just seemed like everybody had a story about this island. Around here, it’s really an iconic place. So here we were, offering people a chance to visit and see what we’re doing, which is amazing. It was just a win-win for everyone.”
And so it was a no-brainer that Hummock Island would offer its oyster tours again.
Oyster Tours 2.0
So what exactly is a Hummock Island Oyster Tour? With its pickup point located just 10 minutes from the Port Jefferson ferry’s landing in Bridgeport, the tour leads guests across Sherwood Mill Pond by boat to Hummock Island. Once on the island, tour guides introduce guests to the history of oystering in Connecticut and the story of how Hummock Island came to be. The tour concludes with an oyster tasting and shucking lesson on the front porch of the island house.
“It’s really just the perfect day out,” says Northrop Jr. “I know I’m biased, but it’s just so beautiful out there—and the oysters are really incredible.”
Dan Barber agrees—and so do we.
For more information on Hummock Island Oyster Tours, please visit their website. Tickets are $79 per person, with tours offered every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting Memorial Day.