FEATURING 12 OYSTERS, GROWERS AND SHIPPERS WHO WILL SEND OYSTERS DIRECT FOR CHRISTMAS & NEW YEARS
In this annual feature running from December 1st through December 12th, we'll present a new oyster variety each day along with the best way we know of how to get it to your door. Ultimately, this feature will become a repository of that information, that all can refer to and share, year round.
Enjoy, #KeepOnShuckin' and SHELLebrate the 12 Days of Oysters with us at our 2nd Annual JINGLE SHELLS event.
December 12th, 2017
THE TWELFTH DAY OF OYSTERS
HOG ISLAND OYSTER COMPANY
Tomales Bay, CA
There are precious few oyster farms located within National Parks, Monuments or Seashores. Hog Island Oyster Company is fortunate to be one of them. They call Tomales Bay and Point Reyes National Seashore in California home. Being only 90 minutes North of San Francisco and an hour or two West of most of Napa Valley, well, this is one blessed place. The experience of being there and enjoying oysters at "The Boat” (which is a picnic area beside the hatchery and processing facility where you can shuck & grill oysters while you sip on fine local wine and craft beer) is, on a pretty day, about as close to heaven as an Ostreophile can get.
Short of going there for the holidays (not a bad idea) the next best thing might be to order some of the Hog Island Sweetwaters direct to your home. Of course, these guys ship direct! And what they ship, well, it would be in our Oyster Hall of Fame, if we had one.
Oysters are supposed to remind us of places we long for or hope to see one day. Tomales Bay is a place you need to want to go. And if you’ve been, you want to go back. Either way, Hog Island Sweetwaters will take you there. Or “bring you back”.
December 11th, 2017
THE ELEVENTH DAY OF OYSTERS
BARNEGAT OYSTER COLLECTIVE
Barnegat Bay, NJ
Back we go to the East again (in case you didn’t notice the pattern). And back to Jersey too. This time to a region a bit farther North. Barnegat Bay boasts a storied history with oysters, clams and more. Wild caught, that is. But as fast as those days passed, a new era is taking shape. All of a sudden there is a handful of boutique oyster growers working very hard to bring top quality product to market. And Barnegat Oyster Collective will ship those oysters direct to you for the holidays. So, crank up the Springsteen, crack open a few Asbury Park Pilsners and get at a bag or two of these beauties in your belly.
BOC is part of a larger story here ... one we love. There is a special kind of Oyster Renaissance going on in Jersey. Several local leaders, including 5th Generation Bayman Dale Parsons of Parsons Seafood have been working together to create a local oyster shell recycling program in partnership with the town of Long Beach Island and several local restaurants and Jetty, a coastal/surf lifestyle brand. It has also resulted in an outstanding film called The Oyster Farmers Whodathunk, Jersey would not just catch up to places like WA and VA with regards to “oyster-culture”, but, in important ways, begin to set some new standards. Baymen, Restaurants, Growers, Brands and Municipalities, Universities are all working together, supporting oyster education, restoration and habitat preservation.
Take notice world. Jersey’s Tide is Rising.
December 10th, 2017
THE TENTH DAY OF OYSTERS
Taylor Shellfish are to oysters what Ford is to automobiles. And they’ve been able to grow without becoming “industrial” or “corporate”. Maybe that’s because they were an overnight success, 120 years in the making.
Taylor was one of the first to really engage in oyster farming, LONG before it was such an industry in WA. An early adopter and innovator, they are still an industry leader. That’s rare in any industry.
Today, Taylor is the only grower we know of who can consistently ship consumers 4 species of oysters. Gigas, Sikamea, Lurida or, in English, that Pacific Kumamoto & Oh, Oh Olympia. And as of this fall, Totten Inlet Virginicas are now available too. So that puts Taylor in a class of their own, like Tottens themselves (an East Coast Oyster grown in Puget Sound!!!). That’s a unicorn. If you’ve never tried, YOU MUST! Finally, Taylor Kumamotos are second to none.
Besides fresh Oysters they also ship several species of Clams, Mussels, Geoduck, Crab, Fish and even Smoked/Canned Oysters. There’s that and so much more at their Online Store here.
December 9th, 2017
THE NINTH DAY OF OYSTERS
STANDISH SHORE OYSTERS
Standish Shore Oyster Farm was founded by Pangea Shellfish owner Ben Lloyd. He decided to name his farm Standish after the peninsula southwest of the farm site where the Standish Shore Monument stands looking over Duxbury Bay.
Ben and his team seeded the farm with 400,000 oysters for the first growing season. He would hit the tides each day, before or after working at Pangea. That’s some serious Mass Hustle. And it has paid off. This is a supremely beautiful, consistent and delicious variety well known by top chefs and Ostreaphiles all across North America.
The best way to get a bag for the holidays is through the Real Oyster Cult app. See the 4th Day of Oysters below to learn more about ROC. Perhaps you’d like to pair a bag of this East Coast gem with a West Coast fave, Kusshi, also available through ROC.
Also, check out their GROWING PROCESS page on the Standish Shore Oysters website. This is one of the best documentations of a grow out process we've seen on the web. Super informative.
December 8th, 2017
THE EIGHTH DAY OF OYSTERS
Spencer Cove, WA
While relative newcomers to the boutique oyster game in 2015, Capital came to it with broad and deep pedigree. The principles brought to bare 150 plus years of industry experience right out of the gate. That’s fairly unique in the industry. Overnight they were on some of the finest menus in the land.
Master Farmer Tom Bloomfield was one of the earliest adopters and innovators of the tide tumbled (buoy & bag) technique which created these deep cups, round shape and smooth shells that shuck so well and hold so much flavorful meat.
You can’t go wrong with this oyster and it does not get much better. Order direct by phone or email: (253) 460-1720 or firstname.lastname@example.org. And learn more about the oysters and innovators at: www.CapitalOyster.com
December 7th, 2017
THE SEVENTH DAY OF OYSTERS
ELDER POINT OYSTERS
Port Norris, NJ
New Jersey has historically been one of the largest oyster producing states. In recent decades, this tradition has suffered due to many factors. The good news is, water quality has rebounded and there is as strong an oyster renaissance going on in Jersey as anywhere, maybe stronger. Great people there are doing great things with oysters. For sure. North & South.
One of the state’s top producers is way down south. Cape May Salt Oyster Company ships direct to consumers and produces two fine varieties. The newest is their Elder Point Oyster. These lovely Jersey fatties are grown in The Delaware Bay near the mouth of the Maurice River and are bottom-cultured in a deep water lease in custom built cages full of bins holding the oysters. The result: Medium Brine. Great shell. Perfect shape. It’s an approachable oyster that, from a flavor standpoint, is not too far off in any direction. Finally, this is an area RICH in Oyster History. It's definitely worth a trip off the beaten path to check it out at some point. Bring a kayak or paddle board. The Maurice River is really wild and scenic upstream of Port Norris.
Order Elder Point Oysters direct here.
December 6th, 2017
THE SIXTH DAY OF OYSTERS
Chelsea Farms innovated the process and technique of “tide tumbling” which creates deep cups and round shapes for oysters. And it changed the industry forever. Now nearly every West Coast grower has a tumbled variety and there are even a tumbled East Coast variety or two. We’ll feature a story about various tumbling techniques and the results it creates soon but for now we’d just encourage you to order some Chelsea Gems direct from their farm near Olympia, WA. They’ve also got a great Oyster Bar there in Olympia so if you are ever out that way, we recommend you swing by. And speaking of Olympia ... aficionados should know that Chelsea Farms also grows Olympia Oysters. AKA, Olys. These are the littlest oyster species and the only one NATIVE to the Pacific North West. Olys were the favorite oyster of both Mark Twain and James Beard. Maybe yours too. Certainly a top choice.
Getting them direct from Chelsea Farms is one of your best bets.
And here is a short video with some tips on shucking them.
December 5th, 2017
THE FIFTH DAY OF OYSTERS
SWEET JESUS OYSTERS
And on the 5th Day ... we present, Jesus, a Sweet Jesus, that is. From St. Mary's County, MD these oysters are available direct for the holidays.
Sweet Jesus Oysters are grown by Tal & Na 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. So, 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 is 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.
Order direct from the grower Hollywood Oyster Company the old school way. Call them at (301) 710-6396 x2 or email them to info@HollywoodOyster.com.
December 4th, 2017
THE FOURTH DAY OF OYSTERS
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 oyster growing equipment / technique patent that takes 90% of the labor out of the process of tumbling 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 produce 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, an app that makes ordering these oysters right from your smart phone 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.
December 3rd, 2017
THE THIRD DAY OF OYSTERS
Miramichi Bay, New Brunswick, Canada
Today we offer a pairing of the "old school" and the "new school", digital and analog. There are few things more analog than an oyster, or oyster farming. And decades of dedication to aquaculture in New Brunswick, Canada has created some of the best oysters there are. Which you can now buy online in small quantities from MAISON BEAUSOLEIL. Though they do NOT ship direct to consumers, all is not lost! You can still get them shipped to your home by using FULTON FISH MARKET.COM. So there's your "new school". But why do we recommend BeauSoleil Oysters? Well, they're delicious. But also, they are about the easiest oyster there is to shuck. Hard, strong shell and hinges are the result of sloooooowwwwww growth in very cold water. So it is a great oyster to learn how to shuck with. And you'll need some shucking skills if you are gonna order oysters direct. Think of them as the bunny slope of oyster shucking. Beginners should start here, get some good habits and move up to something a else...something more difficult to open, once your skills are dialed in.
The grow out method for BeauSoliel Oysters. On the surface in floating bags. Give a really "clean" and "crisp" taste to the oyster.
They come from WAY up north! NB. As in, New Brunswick. That’s Canada, Eh.
FultonFishMarket.com has a great web site where you can buy just about any fish there is. Great for consumers and chefs alike. Consumers, check out the videos to learn how to prepare varous kinds of seafood. Everything they ship is sourced from The New Fulton Fish Market in Bronx, NYC.
DECEMBER 2ND, 2017
THE SECOND DAY OF OYSTERS
HAMA HAMA OYSTERS
Hood Canal, Washington State
The Hood Canal is a legendary oyster producing region. And the area where Hama Hama grows their oysters is simply singular … as is the family who have been growing oysters there for five generations. Direct shipping is one of the things they are known for and it’s well known that any of their varieties are a no-brainer for the oyster lover you love.
Getcha some here: www.hamahamaoysters.com
The epic location: Lilliwaup, WA. Lilliwaup! That’s a fun to say as Hama Hama.
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 Farm Manager 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.
ALL PHOTOS & IMAGES: Hama Hama Oysters
DECEMBER 1ST, 2017
THE FIRST DAY OF OYSTERS
Chatham is among the most established growers in Massachusetts. Our Shuckbuddy Steven Wright is growing a damn fine oyster up there. Chatham Oysters are available directly from the grower and shipping nationwide.
And they even have a special package for you this year. Check it out here:
"The EBO shucking knife, for your at-home-EBO-experience, has a wooden handle and their coined phrase “#eastbostonlifestyle” carved on the blade. Spoon a heap of Buenas’ Pebre Sauce onto our Chatham Oysters for what’s looking like your best holiday season yet."
CHATHAM is in the elbow of Cape Cod, on the Atlantic or East Side.
These oysters are in superb condition right now. Get some!