An infrequent newsletter for oyster-lovers

Peak Deliciousness

Happy Holidays! Oyster veterans always greet December with a surge of the salivary glands, for they know that the cold means Peak Deliciousness on the oyster calendar, coast to coast.

You can get a taste of that with Real Oyster Cult’s Holiday Tasting, a mix of Washington Kumamotos, New Brunswick La St. Simon’s, and ROC’s own Sailor’s Valentines from Duxbury Bay.
What to do with the leftover oyster shells? A DIY Luminary Kit, of course!

Drop our name for a 10% discount (code: OYSTERATER).

Sea Hags!

One of the all-time most popular oysters on Oysterater has been Moon Shoals, the buttery classics raised by Barnstable firefighter Jon Martin. Now, for the first time, Jon has expanded his offerings with Sea Hags, raised right on the Barnstable flats but in a deeper spot, so they have less time in the air and more contact with the water and underlying bottomland. The result? Same Moon Shoal brine, plus robust earthy and vegetal notes and rugged shells. A new classic we’re excited to add to the site—though production is small, so these will sell out well before Christmas. Named for the legend of a hunched woman with a driftwood staff seen roaming the Barnstable flats at low tide, searching for something only she knows.

Bear Attack!

Farming oysters in Alaska is always an extreme sport. The orcas. The sharks. The dark. The distance. The minerals and meltwater pouring off the Grewingk Glacier. Greg & Weatherly Bates have done it for years, but last month they took the extremes to a new level while hiking in their backyard with their kids. They were charged by a bear who was intent on having their son, Rockwell, for a pre-hibernation snack. At the last second, their German Shepherd, Sally, threw herself between Rockwell and the bear and took one for the team. She wound up with her head in the bear’s mouth, giving Greg just enough time to get out his gun and dispatch the bear. Everybody is okay, though Sally’s noggin took some hits. Get the full scoop here, and listen to Weatherly tell the tale on local radio. Then order some Glacier Point oysters for the vicarious thrill. You’ll taste the adrenalin in every bite.

Hama Hama Holiday Market

Here’s a nice 2020 innovation from Hama Hama: the Holiday Market, a potpourri of stocking stuffers from the Hama mothership, as well as their favorite friends, featuring Hama’s very own smoked oysters! We’ve been eagerly anticipating that one. Also Doug Fir jelly, card games, oyster tea towels, yew wood spatulas, and lots of other fun treats. Don’t forget Oystergrams, the nicest message you can send to that oysterlover in your life. Order by Friday for Christmas.

Evergreen Shellfish Garden

In case you missed it last month, re-upping this: There is a college with two miles of perfect (and priceless) shellfish beach on its grounds, right in the heart of South Puget Sound, one of the world’s greatest merroirs. That observation led some Evergreen State College students to launch the Evergreen Shellfish Club in 2012. Emily Wilder took the helm in 2014 and the club raised some beautiful bivalves and gave many students some hands-on lessons in coastal ecology, but things went dormant after Emily’s graduation. But this fall, the shellfish garden proved that it is indeed evergreen, springing back to life with the help of Emily (who now works for Skagit Bay Shellfish), some dedicated faculty members, and student Makenna Medrano, who is keeping a blog about the project. Gear was rescued, mud was cleared, and a few thousand baby oysters were planted, with Olys and clams to follow. Want to volunteer, mentor, or be a sponsor? Contact Emily, aka @geoduckgal.

Our Cup Runneth Over

December finds Oysterater plumped with more oysters than ever before, all the way from Alaska to Fishers Island, that Brigadoon-like mirage off the Connecticut coast where the most legendary of East Coast oysters grows in some of its most pristine and oceanic waters. Fishers Islands are special oysters, and the Malinowskis are special people, cofounders of the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition (among many other achievements). We’re proud to have them a part of the site. And we’re proud to have you, too. Coming soon: 2021!!!

Wishing you fresh oysters by the hearth,

The OysteRater crew
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