"I have so much respect for the original oystermen like my grandfather back in the day," says Albert "Buzzy" Besson, "My grandfather would go out in his boats and dredge for oysters. It was a very labor-intensive process. We still produce a wonderful product, but now we farm oysters."
@lafayettetravel Welcome to Buzzy’s Oyster Farm in Grand Isle, LA 🦪 #farmtotable #eatlafayette #onlyinlouisiana ♬ Summer day - TimTaj
"Oysterman nowadays work their farms. It's a different method. The quality oyster is the same, but the oystermen back in the day deserve special recondition."
Buzzy says he took up oyster farming as a hobby, but it's in his genes, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and uncle. "My wife thinks this is one of the things that keeps me in shape," he explains as he hand-tumbles oysters in a tub on his farm in the Gulf of Mexico.
Buzzy grew up on Grand Isle. He knows everyone and everything about the island. He can show you where he and his siblings used to play on the sand beds as a kid, now unrecognizable, covered by water. He learned every inch of the island growing up, saw development and growth in his hometown, and watched hurricanes tear apart homes and businesses year after year. Now living in St. Martinville, Buzzy brings his boutique oysters from his hometown back to Acadiana for hungry seafood lovers in Lafayette to enjoy.
Buzzy grows his oysters from seeds. Throughout the oysters' lives, he continuously moves them into bigger cages as they grow. Oyster seeds start at about half the size of a penny. Eight to twelve months later, after lots of care from the nursery to the farm, Buzzy will harvest a restaurant-ready oyster.
@lafayettetravel Buzzy grows his oysters from seeds 🦪 #farmtotable #eatlafayette #onlyinlouisiana ♬ Summer day - TimTaj
He produces a smaller farm-raised boutique oyster that restaurants will serve raw. Buzzy has about 400 square float cages on the farm, all individually labeled for each restaurant he delivers to. Oysters this year are very salty, which Buzzy says is a good thing. South winds from the Gulf have pushed into the estuaries, drawing high salinity levels in the oyster.
"You want a taste that will stay with you, not like drinking a martini where you just get a salty sip. You want that creamy, earthy flavor to return to your palate a minute or two later. That's a good oyster," Buzzy explains.
@lafayettetravel Let’s deliver fresh oysters to Lafayette, Louisiana 🦪 #farmtotable #eatlafayette #onlyinlouisiana ♬ Summer day - TimTaj
Buzzy leaves his full-time job Thursday midmorning to make oyster deliveries to Lafayette. His first stop is Vestal; they have served Buzzy's oysters for over a year. His second stop is Spoonbill, where he supplies oysters for their raw night. Wild Child Wine Shop, Champagne's, and Heleaux's Grocery will soon carry Buzzy's oysters so you can also enjoy them at home.