Around these parts, watermen and women head out on the water to catch crab, oyster, and fish to bring it to your plate. We’re home to the J.M. Clayton Seafood Company, the oldest continuously running crab factory in the world. Our farmers work the land to bring us sweet corn, tomatoes, strawberries, and more. Here are a few ways to sample our homegrown goodness….
join a waterman and catch your own crabfeast
Ride along with a lifelong waterman with Stoney Cove Charters for a day on the water catching Maryland crabs, then enjoy a crabfeast with your catch! Or let others do the work and order up steamed crabs or crabs any which way (crab cakes, crab soup, crab dip, etc.) at many of our restaurants. The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort also hosts an annual Crab Week in August with cooking demos, crab feasts, and Family Iron Chef competitions. You can also taste the goodness at some of our seafood events, including the Taste of Cambridge Crab Cook-Off and Festival in July, the all-you-can-at Seafood Feast-I-Val in August, and the Rotary Oyster Roast in March.
tour an oyster farm
Oyster aquaculture has been growing in Dorchester County. See what oyster farming is all about at Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company. They host tours of their operations – some including tastings!
drink the local beer
A growing microbrewery in the heart of downtown Cambridge, RAR Brewing is always creating specialty brews, as well as their longtime favorites, many of which are named after local places. Nanticoke Nectar, Bucktown Brown. Some of their offerings combine locally grown/produced flavors, such as butternut squash from a nearby farm. Their can releases always draw a line of thirsty folks that stretches down the block.
pick your own produce
There’s nothing like fresh and local produce. Sometimes the only thing that makes it better is the joy of picking it yourself. Stop by Emily’s Produce for U-Pick fun, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and pumpkins. You can find the harvest (from veggies to meat to cheese) from other local farms at the weekly Cambridge Farmers Market, which happens on Thursdays, 3-6pm, May through October at Long Wharf Park on the waterfront.
sample local wines & tour a winery
A local family that’s been farming here for generations decided to expand from grain to grapes, and it turns out, they’re very good at producing wine! Visit Layton’s Chance Vineyard & Winery near Vienna to sample their vintages and to take a tour of the operation and get a sense for the grain farming that still goes on today. And you can bring the kids, because this is a family-friendly winery. They host all kinds of events throughout the year, from karaoke to grape stomping.
delight in a Zagat-rated hidden gem
When Chef Ian Campbell wanted to open his French restaurant, Bistro Poplar, in downtown Cambridge, people thought he was crazy. Not anymore. Today people are crazy for everything this award-winning chef sends out of the kitchen. He’s committed to using the freshest and best local ingredients, and everything is made from scratch in-house, even if it means days of preparation for his famous French onion soup. At other Dorchester-area restaurants, you’ll find that most serve locally harvested crabs and oysters in season.
explore Dorchester’s food-rich history
The harvesting and processing of fruits, vegetables, oysters, crabs, and more has shaped this county in powerful ways. Learn more about how Cambridge was once tops in the canning industry with a visit to the Heritage Museums & Gardens of Dorchester. And see how watermen harvest crabs and oysters from the water at the Richardson Maritime Museum.