For the TWELVE DAYS OF OYSTERS this year we'll feature 12 VARIETIES OF OYSTERS that consumers can ORDER DIRECTLY TO THEIR HOMES. From Dec 1-12, 2016 we'll present a new oyster variety each day along with the best way we know of to get it to your door. Ultimately then, this feature will become a respository of that information you can refer to and share with the ostreaphile you love at any time of the year. Your Welcome! Header Photo: FAT BASTARD OYSTERS from Taylor Shellfish. As good as it gets. Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF OYSTERS: SWEET JESUS OYSTERS, Hollywood, Maryland
I suppose it ts only fitting we wrap up the 12 Days of Oysters with a reference to Jesus. Didnt plan it this way, I swear. But the Lord works in mysterious ways, so, here we are. From St. Mary's County, MD we present Sweet Jeus Oysters! Get these #OystersDirect for the holidays by visiting HOLLYWOOD OYSTERS website. They're grown by Tal & Nah Petty in the pristine waters off their family farm. St. Mary's County Maryland is home to the US National Oyster Shucking Contest and the US National Oyster Cookoff. Few places have that kind of "Oyster Country" cred. Expect a "sweet" oyster here. Not briney or salty, that is. Salinity in the Patuxent River farm will be low and so the sweetness of the abductor muscle is strong on the finish of this oyster. Beautiful white shells. Big fat meats this time of year. For those from the Chesapeake region, this oyster will taste like home.
Amen! Photo Credit Hollywood Oyster Co.
When this arrives on your doorstep, stand and shout, "Hallelujah!" Photo Credit Hollywood Oyster Co.
Two Apostles of the Sweet Jesus Oyster! Photo Credit Hollywood Oyster Co.
ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF OYSTERS: HOG ISLAND SWEETWATER OYSTERS, Marshall, California
The closest thing I've ever seen to heaven on Earth is in Marshall, CA. Home of Hog Island Oyster Farm. There are only a handful of places like this, like Point Reyes National Park and Tomales Bay. But this place is just one of a kind. The topograhy and hydrology is incredible. The farm's proximity to Napa & San Francisco is amazing too. Add that all up and you've got something, well, singular.
But at the end of the day its all about the oysters, right. Ok, Ok. What about them .Well, the oysters they grow happen to be off the charts too. I know its not fair. These guys have it all: An incredible farm. Spectacular oysters. Booming Oyster Bars. If you cant get to the farm or one of their raw bars or even find Hog Island Sweetwater Oysters in a raw bar near you, all is not lost. You can always get these #OystersDirect at the HOG ISLAND OYSTER COMPANY web store. And there is still plenty of time to get them before the holdays!
Hog Island Sweetwaters. There is a particular Merroir there that is pretty damn amazing. Photo Credit Hog Island Oyster Company.
The sorting and grading shop is right next to the picnic area at the farm. It's pretty cool to wach the boys doing their thing there. Photo Credit Hog Island Oyster Company
They may not have invented them (though I think they did) they certainly do get a lot of credit for it. I'm talking about these things: Bourbon, Chipoltle, Butter BBQ Oysters. CRACK! Going to Marshall to eat your weight in these love bombs is something I must recommend to all. Find the recipe in their cookbook, also available in their online store. Photo Credit Hog Island Oyster Company
The recipe for the BBQ oysters (and many others) is in The Hog Island Oyster Lovers Cookbook (above) along with many others. That's a great holiday gift too. A MUST for any Ostreaphile's library.
ON THE TENTH DAY OF OYSTERS: SUMMERSIDE OYSTERS, Prince Edward Island, Canada
As winter finally sets in many of us begin to think of sunny places and sandy beaches. But the Ostreaphiles among us are looking North to places where, soon, the ice and snow will make it difficult or impossible for certain growers to harvest and ship oysters. So, as winter sets in and progresses product from The Maritimes becomes scarce. That region is at its absolute peak right now. Great time to order some #OystersDirect from the boys & girls in PEI. Getchasum Summersides before the holidays!
A perfect summerside with a big ass spur! Photo Credit Kevin Joseph.
A wise person once said to me that he thinks of his life as part A and Part B. Life before he visted The Maritimes and life AFTER he visited them. I endeavor to get there next summer, for sure. In the meantime, all I can do is enjoy theire fine oysters.
The best way to get them is from REAL OYSTER CULT. That's the app any hard-core Oystafarian would already have on their phone by now. What did we do before apps like this? Or websites like Rowan Jacobsen's OYSTERATER. Now, I'm not much to get in to deep descriptions of oyster flavor profiles because any given oyster can taste very different in each month of the year OR right after a big rain OR during a serious drought. So, I find the excercise a bit futile. Get some, eat them, THEN tell me what they tasted like, TODAY. In my estimation, one can only really have a general idea of what it SHOULD taste like from a simple consideration of an oyster's proximity to fresh or salt water. And if it is grown in floating bags, in off bottom cages or bottom planted. These are the constants, generally. BUT, you can get an idea of where an oyster comes from, how it comes to be harvested and who is behind it with OYSTERATER and of course Rowan's other site, OYSTER GUIDE.
PEI has been a legit OysterHood from ever since. These guys look as thought they know what they are doing. Thank You Gentlemen! They farm these oysters but most oysters are wild caught in PEI. That "Generic" wild caught oyster is know, everwhere, as a Malpeque. Photo Credit Real Oyster Cult.
The Tong for these things. Meaning, this is basically a wild caught oyster. Toninig and Togners in PEI looks like this!
Photo Credi Eric McCarty
Prince Edward must have been a good guy. Probably loved oysters. He has one of the best oyster producing regions named after him anyway. So that's nice.
ON THE NINTH DAY OF OYSTERS: TAYLOR SHELLFISH - Shelton, Washington State
The Oyster Gods shined on us today. And all was well with the world. My man Marco Pinchot from Taylor Shellfish send us #OystersDirect. And it was a doozie! This is one of their HOLIDAY PACKAGES that allows anyone to get some extraordinary product delivered to their doorstep.. So legit. 36 Shigoku, Olympia's and Taylor Kumos here. Oh My! Such good stuff in this box it warrants a lot more photos than our average post in the 12 Days of Oysters. Enjoy & Order your own or gift a box for an oyster lover you love. $75 is a screaming deal! All photos in this post by Kevin Joseph.
Santa Who? I must be on Taylor's "Nice List". And that's the right list for me. All photos in this post by Kevin Joseph.
What you get in the Holiday Package for $75. Oysters. Knife. Gloves. And a cool box. Um, DEAL!
36 EXTRAORDINARY Oysters. 3 Speices. $75! DO IT!
Shigoku is the premier "tumbled pacific oyster" on the market. This is the high water mark. BEYOND industry standard. Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
Taylor Kumamotos really ARE the best in the world. I mean look at those ridges and frillery. Perfection! If you love Kumos its most likely becuase you've had these. They are head and shoulders above the CA and MX product. Which can be nice, to be fair. But these are in a leauge all their own. Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
OH LYMPIA. Olympia oysters may be tiny but their are FULL of flavor. This holiday package is a great way to try to shuck a few and to see if you like them. Check out the video we made about them HERE. Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
The surface tenstion on that oyster liquor is sublime. SUPER juicy Shigokus with such lovely shells. Deepest cups on Earth! Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF OYSTERS: NISQUALLY TRIBE - Henderson Inlet, Washington State
Let's talk rare & exotic. I can name on one hand the number of Native Peoples in the US & Canada which are engaged in Ostréiculture. I know of 2, actually. The Komoks in BC and The Nisqually near Olympia, WA. This tiny inlet at the bottom of Puget Sound is a very nutrient rich one indeed. Great proximity to fresh and salt water does a bottom grown oyster well. Lots of flavor in these bad boys. How to order these #OystersDirect? Simple. FultonFishMarket.com Load upon oysters and fin fish there for the holidays.
Frilly AF: Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
Taking pride in the low tide. Photo Credit: Thomas Bloomfield
The most bad ass rig in all of Oysterdom. Photo Credit: Sue Shotwell
ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF OYSTERS: ISLAND CREEK - Duxbury Bay, Massachusetts
Island Creek has been shipping #OystersDirect to both consumers and chefs for quite a while. Maybe that's one of the reasons they've become known to be a favorite of Chef Thomas Keller (and a list of about 100 others that reads like the talent sheet for any given Food & Wine Festival). Consumers can order HERE. These guys are organized on the ecommerce side of things. Great packages of all kinds from an assored 3 dozen to a 50 count box to two 100 count bags. There's something for everyone in there. But my favorite thing in their shop is my FAVORITE KNIFE. I call it The Oyster Scalpel.
They dont get much better looking than this. Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
The Oysterplex is a fairly epic place. Photo Credit Island Creek Oysters
Few places on earth are better suited to grow oysters than Duxbury Bay.
ON THE SIXTH DAY OF OYSTERS: PENN COVE SELECT OYSTERS - Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, Washington State
I've had the pleaure of visiting with Ian Jefferds, owner of Penn Cove Shellfish not once, but twice, on Whidbey Island, WA. We road tripped around Salish Sea one of those days and if you ever get the chance to get out there and check out Deception Pass. DO IT! Now, Penn Cove is known best for their mussels. And their farm is spectacular. Majestic Mt Baker rises BIGLY off to the East. Orcas commonly sighted. Majestic. But they also offer a fantastic selection of ultra-premium oysters, and not just from WA. Browse around THEIR WEB SITE for all your #OystersDirect options. Oysters and mussels and clams, OH MY!
Penn Cove Selects. Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
Beach harvesting at Low Tide at Salish Sea. Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
ON THE FIFTH DAY OF OYSTERS: FISHERS ISLAND OYSTERS - Fishers Island, New York
Fishers Island (for those not familar) is a tiny bit of land much closer to all of CT and RI than 95% of of New York. One could say that it is to The Empire State what Brittania was to the Holy Roman Empire. The farthest reaches. The frontier. The promised land for oysters. And it is from this place that one of the finest oysters with one of the most prestigious predigree comes.
The Malinowski's Family Farm has been producing oysters on Fishers Island for about 30 years. 30 YEARS! Nobody has been at it in New York that long. Not even close. They tell their story well ON THIER WEB SITE and you can order their oysters directly from there too. I recommend you spend some time on their site. It has got to be the best, most personal and engaging web site of any oyster grower out there. A lot of that has to do with the fact that your're reading a family history set in a romantic and unfamiliar place. And that they do it all there: Hatchery. Nursery. Farm. If a 10 minute browse of their web site does not make you want to order a bag of oysters, well, check yourself for a pulse.
Fishers Island: The Easternmost Outpost of The Empire State
NOT a desk job! Hauling lantern nets full of oysters on Fishers Island. Photo Credit David Malosh
Consider THIS oyster for delivery to your home. Photo Credit Julie Qiu
ON THE FOURTH DAY OF OYSTERS: KUSSHI - Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada
Back out West today for some of the best oysters on the planet. Kusshi are the result of a super ninja patent that takes 90% of the labor out of the process of tumbling the oysters. The result? These are about as round as an oyster can be. Deep cups. Total uniformity. Super hard shell. Tough as nails hinge. Therefore, these are another great oyster for novice and beginner shuckers. And they’re a good fit for any oyster lover because the pristine waters of Deep Bay produces a delicious treat. STELLAR BAY SHELLFISH does not ship direct to consumers, but you can still get their Kusshi Oysters by using REAL OYSTER CULT, a new app that makes ordering these oysters right from your smart phone, well, as easy as it is to shuck them. Kusshi is a Japanese word which means “Ultimate". The name fits. And Real Oyster Cult may be the ultimate way to order oysters direct.
They're plump when you shuck 'em! Photo Credit Kevin Joseph
Deep Bay, Brithish Columbia, Canada. Beautiful counntry up there. Crazy beautiful.
ON THE THIRD DAY OF OYSTERS: BEAUSOLEIL OYSTERS, Miramichi Bay, New Brunswick, Canada
ON THE SECOND DAY OF OYSTERS: HAMA HAMA OYSTERS, Hood Canal, Washington State
We love how savvy these guys are with their marketing as much as we love their oysters. I mean, they've been shipping direct for a long time and they've really "Put A Bow On It" for you with thier Holiday Package. It's a no-brainer for the oyser lover you love. It comes with a few other goodies too. GETCHA SOME HERE
Fairly epic location.
Blue Pools, Hama Hama & Sea Cow varieties are all grown with slightly different techniques.
Hama Hama actually means "Stinky Stinky" in Japanese, or so I was told by Adam, the owner of Hama Hama a while back. That referred to the smell created by dying salmon which returned to the area to spawn in years past. I doubt that still happens today though.
ALL PHOTOS & IMAGES: Credit Hama Hama Oysters
ON THE FIRST DAY OF OYSTERS: CHATHAM OYSTERS - Chatham, Massachusetts
Among the most established and legit growers in Mass. They've been at it since long ago. And they're organized. Our friend Steven Wright is growing a damn fine oyster up there. Chathams are available direcly from the grower and shipping nationwide. http://www.chathamoysters.com
CHATHAM is in the elbow of Cape Cod, on the Atlantic or East Side.
These oysters are in superb condition right now. Get some!
ALL PHOTOS & IMAGES: Chatham Shellfish Co.