The oyster shaming has got to stop. You heard, perhaps, about the TikTok video of an Atlanta woman eating 48 oysters on a date who was left to pay the bill after her beau apparently fled — why should slurpers need to keep their boundless love of bivalves a secret? A new vending machine that Little Ram Oyster Co. installed outside its Southold headquarters allows anyone to satisfy their outsized love of oysters at all hours of the day or night, in summer, winter, whenever.
The Oyster Automat is a handy way for the company to sell its product directly to the public not just on weekends — when Little Ram operates a farmstand on Soundview Ave. — but at times when people want oysters most, which is apparently all the time.
“We find that there is not a pattern to the way people buy oysters throughout the year,” said co-owner Stefanie Bassett.
Hence the machine, which dispenses 25-count bags of unshucked Little Ram oysters 24/7, along with pint jars of already-shucked oysters (both $35, and yes, the machine takes credit cards) and containers of the company’s popular bang bang sauce spiced with Thai chiles ($10). It also showcases products by other women-run businesses, including a clam dip from North Fork’s Clamity Janes ($18) and a set of three cans of smoked fish ($35) by LA-based Fishwife Tinned Seafood Co., as well as tools for shucking and more.
It was Ralph Corsini of Ockers Oysters, on Great South Bay, who originally came up with the idea — he also has an on-premises vending machine — and who helped Little Ram “trick out an old fruit and vegetable machine,” according to Bassett. The contraption, which has been inspected and approved by the county health department, if you’re wondering, is designed to keep oysters at a precise refrigerated temperature and will “completely lock itself so there’s no problem with food safety” if for some reason its contents reach 40 degrees. Barring that, said Bassett, oyster nuts will henceforth be able to acquire Little Ram’s mollusks at any time, in any season, in any quantity and — perhaps most importantly — in a way that cleverly avoids detection by tsk-tskers on TikTok.
“You can go in the middle of the night if you want to,” Bassett said.
Oh, we will.
Little Ram’s Oyster Automat is located at the company’s headquarters at 61600 Main Rd. in Southold. littleramoysters.com.