The Block Island Times

Slurp and do good: It's oyster fundraiser time!

By Pippa Jack | Nov 19, 2012

It’s time to get out your wallets and your shucking knives for one of the year’s tastiest fundraisers.

On Tuesday, November 20, Sun Farm Oysters will be having its annual Thanksgiving oyster benefit for Block Island based non-profits at Poor People’s Pub. Hungry do-gooders should come at 4 p.m. and can get two dozen local oysters for a very reasonable suggested donation of $5. What’s more, this year Sun Farm will be matching donations up to $20 per person for the first 100 people.

Sun Farm owner and newly elected freshman councilman Chris Warfel asks that everyone “please bring a bag to put your oysters in.”

Participating non profits are also asked to bring a donation container to the Poor People’s Pub at 3:45 p.m., and to retrieve it at 5:30 p.m.

We asked Warfel some questions about the bivalve binge:

How many years have you been doing this?

I think this is the sixth.

It’s a unique fundraiser idea. How did you get the idea?

My dad and I had a tradition on Christmas Eve of eating all these semi-exotic foods that no one else was around to eat, or wouldn’t eat. Herring, sardines, pig’s feet, scrapple, all types of peppers, cheeses, clams, smoked fish and so on. It was something we did for many years and I really looked forward to it. After he died, I wanted to do some type of tradition in his memory, but all I had were oysters, so I thought that many people come and go on Thanksgiving and this could be one of their unique holiday food traditions. We were always raised to give back when possible, so this seemed like the best idea I could come up with. I know we use the public trust waters for the farm and it also helps us give back, recognizing that.

How much did you raise last year?

I think we just broke $1,000.

Do people say funny things when they participate?

Not really, except that they would be really in trouble if they didn’t get the oysters. It’s just a nice feeling out there. The dusk, the cold air, people taking time out and talking. Many people donate much more than we ask, which helps the non profits.

What’s the largest number of oysters anyone has gotten?

I think six dozen.

Any tips for shucking and eating?

Shucking: Use the right knife, place the oyster on a flat surface (Shea Butcher’s good advice) — or better yet, get someone else to do it!

Eating: I like them plain or with a mignonette sauce. If you don’t like them raw, bread them and bake them in the shell with brie and tabasco for four minutes.

Anything else?

Johno Sisto has a recipe for oysters with sauerkraut. He keeps threatening to make me try it.


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