Captain Matt Ketcham of Peconic Gold Oysters says that he was “19 years old and working in the commercial fishing industry on Rhode Island while studying aquaculture at the University of Rhode Island” when he knew that he wanted to make a living on the water, one way or another. Now he works hard to put oysters on the table for local chefs and he looks forward to expanding his offerings. Meet this hardworking fisherman and try some of his work on the half shell at Dan’s Rosé Soirée, the official kickoff event of the Hamptons summer, at the Southampton Arts Center, on Memorial Day Weekend (Sunday, May 28).
Would you agree that chefs and farmers have a lot in common in that both are a little crazy and overworked?
Definitely! Chefs and farmers have a unique sense of pride and individuality in their work. As an oyster farmer, I need to adapt and work with what Mother Nature gives me. At the same time, I do my best to be a consistent and reliable supplier of my product to several chefs. So when the rust tide stopped my oysters from growing for four weeks last summer, I needed to adapt and put a lot of extra labor in to make sure I had what I needed.
My favorite dish to pair with a fine rosé is: Peconic Gold Oysters on the half shell.
What Long Island wines are currently in your home wine library?
Sparkling Pointe Brut, Bedell Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Paumanok Vineyards Chenin Blanc
Why should consumers seek out local produce and wine?
What grows together, goes together—buying local ensures that you’re getting the freshest ingredients and always eating what’s in season. Supporting our local community is also very important when choosing to buy local food and wine.
What crop could local farmers grow that you would be excited to use?
I would be excited for the opportunity to farm kelp and blue mussels along with my oysters, as a part of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture.
If I got a tattoo tomorrow it would depict: a Peconic Gold Oyster.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve ever eaten?
A goat head.
What do you have in your pantry right now that would make another food pro jealous?
local asparagus, Mecox Bay Dairy beef, oysters, and scup
What local ingredients will you be using in the high summer season?
watermelon, butter lettuce, sugar snap peas, corn, heirloom tomatoes
I could create a fine meal with just these five ingredients:
garlic, olive oil, local fingerling potatoes, local rainbow chard, and 8 Hands Farm Meyer Lemon Sausage
What are you most looking forward to about being a part of Dan’s Rosé Soirée?
Showcasing some of my finest oysters in a month without an R in it! May is one of the best times of year to enjoy oysters. They are growing great during this May-June prespawn phase, and are physically fit.
Find the latest info on all of Dan’s Taste of Summer events this summer—Dan’s Rosé Soirée, the official kickoff event of summer in the Hamptons on Memorial Day Weekend (May 28); the new Dan’s Corona MonTaco presented by Don Julio, a Mexican-themed fiesta at Gurney’s Montauk on July 7; Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk, back for its second summer on July 8; Dan’s GrillHampton (July 21), celebrating its 5th anniversary; and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company (July 22), now in its 7th year—at DansTaste.com.