Bodega Bay Oyster Company
Located on Valley Ford Road in Petaluma, Bodega Bay Oyster Company is the place to go for retail sale oyster purchases and on location picnic and BBQ accommodations, where you can buy them by the bag, or shucked on location. Bodega Bay Oyster Company is the sister company and retail outlet for Point Reyes Oyster Company, a shellfish farm located in Tomales Bay. The farm, owned and operated by Martin Strain, has been harvesting oysters for 32 years and consists of 92 acres of pristine waters.
“We offer small through large Miyagi’s as well as Kumamoto oysters, Manila clams and Gallo mussels. We sell small Miyagi’s most often, as they’re more versatile. You can eat them raw on the half shell, steamed or barbequed,” says Manager Lindsey Strain.
Tide to table, as the company refers to it, is the concept of exploring unique local products that benefit the health of the land, similar to farm to table. “People are realizing that how food is grown and cultured matters for your health as well as the health of the land—or water in our case,” says Manager Whitt Strain. “You can’t grow a great product if you don’t have a healthy environment, and oysters are great for the environment.”
Bodega Bay Oyster Company grows their own oysters in the bay, resulting in distinctive flavors. Lindsey Strain says, “Oysters are similar to wine in that they have ‘terroir’ or a sense of place. If you taste a Miyagi oyster from Tomales Bay, and one from anywhere else, despite being the same oyster, they are going to taste different.” Having what Strain describes as the cleanest waters around, it shows in their oysters’ taste and quality.
The Oyster Girls
A local treat, The Oyster Girls, sisters Jazmine and Aluxa Lalicker, work directly with oyster farmers to bring locally harvested oysters to events around the North Bay. Their traveling oyster bar comes fully stocked with the necessities, Roving Oyster Shuckers and caviar. The Roving Oyster Shuckers shuck and serve fresh oysters and caviar to guests amongst the crowd. Equipped with a shucker’s tool belt of essentials, the shucker is prepared with condiments and necessary tools to hand deliver the best of the best. They also offer oyster party kits and full oyster bar service.
The sisters also own The Shuckery in downtown Petaluma, where you can enjoy their selected local oysters on a half shell at just about any time. For more information, go to: www.theoystergirls.com
How to shuck an oyster
1) On a flat, firm surface, place the flat side of the oyster facing up, with the hinged end pointing towards your dominant hand. Cover either the oyster with a towel or your hand with a sturdy glove for protection.
2) Insert an oyster knife into the hinge and apply pressure until the hinge begins to fail. Try twisting side to side (not up and down) while applying pressure to pop the hinge.
3) Slide the knife into the oyster and drag the blade across the underside of the top (flat side) shell to sever the adductor muscle.
Discard the top shell
4) Slide the knife under the body of the oyster to sever the other side of the adductor muscle.
In Japan, oyster shells are crushed into a white pigment used to decorate dolls.
The iridescent inner shell of an oyster is called mother-of-pearl.
25 percent of New York Harbor used to be oyster beds.
Oysters and wine: a perfect match
The best wines to pair with oysters tend to be white, dry, crisp and clean finishing. Heavy fruit and tropical flavors can overwhelm the oyster, as well as oak. According to The Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition held annually, a few of the best wines to drink with your raw oysters are from here in the North Bay.
• Kunde Sauvignon Blanc, Kenwood
• Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, Healdsburg
• Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
• Trefethen Riesling, Napa Valley
• Vinoce Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
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