Scientific Name: Ostreidae spp
Habitat: All oysters available for sale on the West Coast are grown in licensed aquaculture facilities like those in Tomales Bay.
Diet: Oysters, being bivalves, are filter feeders. They strain microscopic diatoms from the water column.
Size: We usually sell smalls or extra small oysters as these are in highest demand. Though we can get large BBQ oysters if you want 'em.
Range: West Coast of North America
(Year round except during periodic winter closures—due to rain)
Most of the oysters we serve are live Miyagis from Tomales Bay. However, in the winter when rains cause run-off problems in Tomales we often source out shellfish (including oysters) from further up the coast: namely from Oregon, Washington and occasionally Canada. A perfect example of sustainable aquaculture, these oysters are an important part of the future of seafood.
Hopefully you have an oyster shucker, if not you can order one through us, or improvise with a flat head screwdriver. You will receive 16 extra small oysters per order. While you're chilling the champagne you can keep your oysters cool by putting them in a bowl covered with a damp towel in the fridge. As with all shellfish, they are highly perishable and are best enjoyed immediately. Discard any that are already open. These are "smalls" so our advice is simply to shuck 'em and enjoy them raw or with a squeeze of lemon. You can also enjoy them grilled or broiled. Here's a good shucking primer...VIDEO.
2010 - present
2010 - present
Let’s face it, as far as aquaculture goes, farming oysters and other bivalves is about as eco-friendly as it can get. This is what made the recent closure of Drake’s Bay oyster farm so deeply frustrating to so many people. There are so few examples of sustainable aquaculture on the planet, it just seemed ludicrous to close down one of the best. In any case, there are still quite a few facilities on the West Coast. Because oysters and other bivalves strain diatoms from the water column, one could make the case that they improve water quality and act as indicators for the health of the ecosystem.
Gear and fishery info:
All oysters have been legally checked and cleared for human consumption at the various oyster farms from whence they came. When there are problems in the various inlets and bays where they are grown, they are not available for sale. Oysters and other shellfish are universally lauded for their health benefits including high quality proteins and long chain omega threes.
Once long ago there were large beds of native oysters in SF Bay. They turn up in Indian shell middens and you can still see vast beds of dead ones in Alameda and the aptly named “Oyster” Point. You can still find the native Olympia oyster Ostrea lurida in muddy backwaters around the bay area but the days of thick teaming oyster shoals are gone. Occasionally some crazed foodie will ask me whether I can get native oysters. The answer is no. Though if you turn rocks in any muddy area of the bay you are bound to find a few. You may want to think twice about eating these SF Bay oysters though… many of the areas where one finds Ostrea lurida are ecologically compromised.
Fish Nerdism 101:
Oysters are one of the few things where the little ones command more market value than the large ones. This is due to the fact that most people are ok with a small amount of oyster in their mouths but a big slab of oyster slowly sliding down into the belly is considered a tad too intense. If we ever decide to do BBQ oysters (ie: big ones) we will send out an e-mail a day or two in advance.