“If life is like a box of chocolates, then heaven is an oyster”
In the late 1600s Jonathan Swift called the man who first ate an oyster “bold,” but by then people had been eating them for centuries. Archaeologists have found mounds of oyster shells, known as middens, dating back to 6950BC.
Thanks to clean water and nutrient-rich bays, the Northwest has some of the best shellfish beds around. Just as location, or terroir, is important to making great wine, the same holds true for growing great shellfish.
Oysters are some of the hardest working shellfish in the ocean. An adult oyster is capable of filtering 25-50 gallons of water a day! It’s no surprise, then, that oysters take on the flavor of the water where they’re grown: East Coast oysters tend to be saltier and brinier while West Coast oysters tend to be a little sweeter.
The Pacific Northwest has some pretty incredible geography for nurturing oysters: South Puget Sound, Hood Canal, Samish Bay, Port Angeles, Vancouver Island and Desolation Sound are the most fruitful regions in our area. We are proud to partner with both Taylor Shellfish Farms and Penn Cove Shellfish or our oyster supply.
Even though fresh oysters make it to your plate in a day, cultivating them takes a lot of time and attention. The growing process can take anywhere between 18 months to four years. The only oyster native to the Pacific Northwest is the Olympia – possibly the tiniest oyster known to man (but full of flavor). Other popular oysters grown in our area include Pacifics, Kumamotos, Shigokus, Penn Cove, Kusshi and Virginicas. Both Taylor Shellfish and Penn Cove Shellfish websites are great resources for listing oyster varieties grown and offered in our area.
For the month of March, our menus feature two exceptional oyster preparations
If you are new to oysters, or have a hard time eating them raw, then our Baked Oysters with Bacon and Coastal Cheese sauce is for you. It’s a delicious twist on Oysters Rockefeller preparation.
Another featured dish this month is Wicked Oyster Stew. Tender, local oysters cooked in a creamy stew with a hint of our own Wicked Spice give this dish a delicate balance of spicy and umami leaving your taste buds – and belly – satiated.
Of course, we always offer oysters on the half shell, featuring the best the world has to offer, which lucky for us, happens to be from local waters. Bon Appétite!