MOSQUITO FLEET PETITES
As part of our mission, we want to restore working waterfronts across the low country and remind people of the great seafood industry that once thrived in this region. One of the many histories that is unknown to the common and forgotten by time, is that of Charleston's Mosquito Fleet.
Since the early 1800's, the Mosquito Fleet was the group of mostly Gullah Geechee fishermen who faithfully sailed small wooden boats 10-15 miles offshore each morning using dead reckoning, hand made nets, and homemade sails to provide the primary source of fresh and local seafood to the Holy City. It is rumored that this group of daring fishermen got their name from the daughter of General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who saw them each day from her front porch along the Battery, looking like a swarm of mosquitos across the horizon.
Up until the mid part of the 20th century, these fishermen were local celebrities to the City, with each day's return to the dock bringing crowds of on lookers to see what was caught. But as time went by and the Fleet's elite grew old, their catches were outcompeted by commercial fishing vessels. In the late part of the 20th century, a surge of hurricanes brought the Fleet's facilities to their knees, but without money or the will of younger generations to carry on the tradition, the Fleet faded.
It is with this history that we wanted to brand an oyster that would hopefully bring back the "fleeting"memories of the past and encourage people to once again, support local and sustainable seafood. Like the boats of the Mosquito Fleet, they may seem small on the outside, but inside they are big, bold, and full of adventure, and like the brave fishermen of the Fleet, these oysters are for the fearless!
SPECIES: Crassostrea virginica (native)
LOCATION: Stono River, South Carolina
CULTIVATION: Lady's Island Oyster seed is raised in off-bottom cages. Harvested around thirteen months.
PRESENCE: Mosquito Fleet Petites have curved lips, well defined cups and a teardrop body, whose shell is covered with an alternating pattern like a black and tan. Although petite, don't let the size of these fool you. The shells are delightfully delicate in size and shape, but the meat is big and bold and full-bodied in flavor.
FLAVOR: Pow! Like a wine from a dry year, whose grapes were small but concentrated, producing the best of flavors, our petites offer a wondrous experience in taste. The meat is soft, the taste is sweet and the salt is stunning. Until you've eaten one of these, your taste buds will remain asleep.