While exploring Point Reyes we ran across Drakes Bay Oyster Company, a small oyster company that had been in the local news for some weeks. The oyster company is able to grow and harvest in Drakes Bay, which is national park territory, due to a special permit. That permit is coming up for renewal and the NPS is looking to pull it altogether. There is quite a bit of controversy brewing that you can read more about at Drakes Bay Oysters.com.
We decided to stop and see what all the hub bub was about. Plus, we wanted to take home some oysters.
It is a shockingly small operation considering that ~40% of California’s shellfish comes from this little place.
There’s a tiny shack that houses a refrigeration unit and a 6-foot counter where you can walk up and buy oysters.
Just past the main dock are tons of these pallets stacked with bags of oyster shells.
And just beyond that are HUGE mounds of empty oyster shells. (That’s a sizable boat there on the left, just to give you some scale.)
I was boggled by the enormous quantities of oyster shells.
In fact, at some point Jack commented on how pretty and pure white the road was that you drive in on to to reach the oyster shack. Well, yeah … the entire road is made of oyster shells.
Just behind the oyster shack … this fella is assembling harvest nets.
These are cleaned spikes that the oysters are grown on.
These ladies are cleaning off those growing spikes that have just come out of the water.
Just a few minutes prior, these oysters were stuck to those spikes.
Here’s the small flat bottom rig that they use to go out to the oyster cages. I was struck by the dozen seagulls constantly hovering low over the rig looking, I presume, for scraps and goodies to eat. The seagulls seemed to be constant companions for the fishermen.
Ambling twenty paces from the dock is the main shack, which is flanked by picnic tables filled with people eating fresh caught oysters right from the shell.
As beautiful as it was to sit outside in the sunshine we decided to take them home instead.
You could choose from sizes ranging from extra-small to large and the prices fluctuated accordingly. We got a dozen large oysters for $12. Dude, that’s a total deal!
We got these babies home and Jack gave them a good scrubbing.
Then he threw on the barbie.
We grilled them until they opened …
And then we quickly plated ’em up with a little butter and garlic sauce, and a few with lemon and hot sauce. Our favorites were the lemon and hot sauce. Holy cow. They were delicious!
Paired up with a simple Caesar salad and crisp Chardonnay.
Life was good.