Field Manor’s 4th annual Oyster & Fish Fry offers taste of Old Florida
Brothers John Robert and Samuel Joseph Field loved the beautiful huge riverfront parcel of land they bought for a whopping $1.25 acre in 1868. They also loved getting together for an oyster and fish fry among the oaks and palm trees dotting the front yard of their Merritt Island property.
This Saturday, when Field Manor hosts its annual Oyster & Fish Fry, the entire community can enjoy the view and the meal just as John and Samuel did more than a hundred years ago.
Originally from Macon, Georgia, the Fields were among Brevard’s first pioneers. The whole family came down to settle, but the harsh Florida wilderness did not sit well with the rest of the clan and they went back to Georgia, leaving only John Robert and Samuel Joseph to work the land. The brothers did much more than that, for they helped establish the Brevard town of Indianola, the unincorporated community on Merritt Island that is site to many historic houses and a place once frequented by U.S. presidents.
The Fields built a comfortable wood frame home that, in its simplicity, pays homage to the sturdy Merritt Island pine that created it. The vernacular style of the house is honest and timeless. Storms have come and gone and taken many houses with them, but Field Manor survives.
Video: Field Manor brings history to life
Unlike many historic homes, its contents were always there. The land around the house, primarily groves, was saved from development, so visiting Field Manor is a journey into Florida’s agricultural roots.
“We have almost all of the Field’s original furniture, tools, dolls, and so
much more,” said Alexis Pernal, event coordinator at Field Manor.
“We have so many of the original pieces in the home, so many artifacts in the original citrus packing house all preserved so well. The property itself is so beautiful.”
Part museum, part special events venue, Field Manor is easy to love, thanks to its spectacular setting on the remaining 46 of the original 471.5 acres the Fields accumulated.
Generations of the Fields grew old there. Before Alma Clyde Field died in 2013, she established Field Manor Foundation to assure the homestead and grove she loved would become a museum that would interpret for future generations the challenges Florida’s pioneers routinely faced. Alma had the homestead listed in the National Park Service’s National Register for Historic Places in 1997.
The Foundation’s Oyster & Fish Fry help raise funds needed to keep the museum going, and to tackle initiatives such as improving the Manor’s existing water source to enable farming to return to the property.
“We are so excited to get crops back at Field Manor!” said Pernal. “This land started off as a farm.”
Once the project is finished, the Foundation plans to start up a kitchen garden and continue experimental growing with fruit varieties not typically found in the area. With the citrus industry all but gone on the Indian River, Field Manor is working with organizations to introduce fruit-bearing trees better suited to this portion of Florida and for consumption.
If you are unfamiliar with Field Manor, the Oyster & Fish Fry should get you acquainted. From 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, guests can enjoy fried fish and oysters, raw oysters, a variety of sides, dessert, beer, wine, iced tea, lemonade and water. As the day begins to fall, the property takes on an additional glow in the setting sun. That glorious view is included in the price of admission, as is the live entertainment and silent auction.
Unique and irreplaceable, Field Manor affords the opportunity to look back while celebrating the present and the future..
Field Manor’s 4th Annual Oyster & Fish Fry
When: 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12
Where: Field Manor, 750 Field Manor Drive, Merritt Island
Cost: Tickets are $35 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. A pack of four general admission tickets goes for $115. There is a VIP option at $50 per guest, or $90 per couple, which includes a tour of the home and two alcoholic drinks. All packages include admission and meal.
On the web: fieldmanor.org/oyster-fish-fry