On a chilly night in the fall of 2015, Tom Perry steered his pickup truck into Adams Morgan for a meeting with Phillip Valliant. It was part pleasure — the two had met while duck hunting with friends on the Eastern Shore and had hit it off — but mostly business. Valliant, who worked at Rappahannock Oyster Bar, was interested in starting an oyster farm. Perry already had one.
The two 20-somethings had a few beers, then headed outside to examine and taste a few of the oysters that Perry had brought up from his farm. “Holy Jesus,” was the first thing Valliant remembers saying. “I had never seen oysters like this. They looked like they had been grown in a laboratory. Every one was the same size and shape.”
Within a few minutes, a small crowd had gathered around the pair. Within an hour, they had shucked and shared more than 100 oysters with passersby. “Something clicked for me that night,” said Perry. “If I could get all my oysters to D.C., we could turn this into something big.”
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