When writer Rod O’Connor and his wife Jen hopped in a 2014 Ford Edge and embarked on a road trip from Boston to the eastern tip of Cape Cod for a My Ford travel story, they had one thing on their mind – food!
“I’m from the Midwest,” says Rod, “so a lot of the classic foods on the Cape that are every-day for an East Coaster are still quite exotic for me, in the sense of getting really good, fresh seafood of all varieties.” The drive up the Cape, which included stops in Massachusetts bergs Woods Hole, Wellfleet and Provincetown, offered ample opportunities to not only eat some of the freshest seafood in the world but also to learn about where the food comes and how it is harvested.
Meeting with oyster farmer Barbara Austin in Wellfleet Harbor and checking out her farm, Rod saw the process of raising oysters firsthand, a live example of how important seafood is to the iconic northeastern vacation spot: “On the one hand, it’s a major draw for the bustling tourist industry that’s crucial for the economy,” he says. “But beyond that, Wellfleet oysters are a coveted delicacy that are sold and enjoyed around the world.”
Scheduling the visit to Austin’s oyster farm turned out to be a little more difficult than anticipated. “I thought we could just show up in the morning when they get busy doing their work,” says Rod, “but when I talked to Barbara she said ‘No, you need to be here exactly at this time, because each hour the tide starts coming in.’ Shortly after we arrived we looked back at her Ford pickup and the water was already halfway up the tires. We had to move the truck immediately or it might have been washed away to sea.”
The great food, as it turned out, lent itself to great photography as well – and like all things on the Cape, the photo shoots were rather easy-going. “Usually, when shooting food, you need a food stylist,” says photographer Roark Johnson, “but in this case we didn’t have one, and we had to just work with what we were given. Luckily the food already looked so appetizing that the photos turned out great – and getting to eat the food afterward was just an amazing perk that we don’t usually get in my line of work.”
The Ford Edge proved to be the perfect vehicle for the weekend getaway. “It’s an extremely versatile vehicle,” says Rod. “For a vehicle that has a little bit of size to it and a lot of cargo room, you could really open it up, which was especially nice on scenic roads such as Route 6A – it was like driving through a postcard. But there were also a lot of times in small towns when we were driving around little winding roads, and it was really nimble and fun to drive.”