Oysters Lead Lives of Excitement and Danger. Especially in the Balkans.

Bode Sare, the owner of highly regarded seafood restaurants in Croatia (and a former weapons smuggler), champions locally grown oysters.CreditCreditZoran Marinovic for The New York Times

MALI STON, Croatia — “An oyster leads a dreadful but exciting life,” M.F.K. Fisher observed in her classic book about them, “full of stress, passion and danger.”

The oyster, in other words, fits right in with the beleaguered Balkans.

In his 62 years in this tumultuous region, the life of Bode Sare has been at least as eventful as an oyster’s. Mr. Sare has been a partisan warrior, a weapons smuggler, a cafe owner and a prisoner (twice).

Now, as the owner of highly regarded seafood restaurants in Croatia, he champions locally grown oysters, and is part of a collective of 75 farmers that tends oyster beds in Mali Ston Bay, part of the Adriatic Sea along the southern Croatian coast.

One early morning, as a mist shrouded the ancient wall that snakes around the hills overlooking the town of Mali Ston, Mr. Sare’s son, Tomislav, guided the family’s boat past the plastic markers bobbing in the shimmering blue waters and marking the collective’s oyster beds.