Do you take pre-orders for retail and farmers markets?
- For farmer’s market pre-orders: We must have your order by the Wednesday before the market.
- For pick-up at our retail store: Small orders (under 100 pieces) can be taken at any date before you need them. Orders greater than 100 pieces for pickup between Tuesday and Thursday must be taken before Monday; for pickup between Friday and Monday must be taken before Thursday.
What is the shelf life of a live oysters/mussel/clam?
- Live, in shell oysters, if properly stored should be eaten within 5-8 days.
- Mussels and clams if properly stored will last up to 3-4 days.
How do I store the shellfish I purchased?
- Oysters should be stacked cup-side down in a bowl or pan and covered with a moist towel, and stored below 45*F.
- Mussels and clams should be placed in a bowl, covered with a moist towel and stored below 45*F.
Can I eat BBQ’d oysters that didn’t “pop” open?
- Yes! (Within reason).
- When you grill an oyster, the oyster will die and the muscle usually releases its hold on the shell, therefore opening up and “popping” open.
- Occasionally the meat will not release the shell and will stay as firmly closed as when it was alive. This does not neccessarily mean that the oyster is “bad” and that you can’t eat it. Not all grilled oysters “pop” either; you will get some that barely bubble around the outside and those are finished cooking.
- Once the other oysters on the grill are finished, remove all the oysters (even the ones that didn’t open) and remove the top shell of all of them. From there use your best judgment on whether or not to eat the “closed” ones. If the meat smells fine and looks similar to all the others I would eat it. Again use your best judgment.
- If you throw away all your unopened oysters without looking at them or checking the inside, and then proceed to ask for new ones, we will not give them to you.
What is the R month rule and should I follow it?
- The R month rule, a cautionary tale before modern refrigeration, is now obsolete. First because in olden days the months without R’s were typically warm making storage of live shellfish difficult and mostly unsuccessful. Second, because while most oysters spawn during warmer months and become less desirable to eat, our Tomales Bay is unique in the fact that it doesn’t become warm enough for most oysters to spawn. This leaves you, the customer, with plump, juicy, great tasting oysters year-round.
How do I shuck an oyster?
There are five simple steps, or you can watch the video on Shucking and Cooking for a detailed visual.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Slide the knife under the body of the oyster to sever the other side of the adductor muscle.
What should I look for when buying shellfish?
- When purchasing any shellfish, make sure the shell is closed and there are not cracks or holes in the shell. With oysters, if the shells are open a little bit they are still alive and perfectly fine to eat. Also feel the temperature of them, they should be properly refrigerated and cool to the touch, but not frozen.
- Smell the oysters as well. Oysters should smell fresh, reminiscent of the ocean shore, even a little earthy. Your nose will know right away if something doesn’t smell right. But if you aren’t sure just ask us at the counter and we’ll let you know.
Advice for first time oyster eaters:
- If you’ve never had an oyster before or have disliked eating them raw: try barbecuing medium or small Miyagis and adding your favorite BBQ sauce or lemon garlic sauce.
- If you are determined to eat a raw oyster: start with a Kumamoto. They are small and buttery, and with a squeeze of lemon or hot sauce are quite heavenly. If you prefer more salty fair, try an extra small Miyagi with lemon or hot sauce.
Do you have picnic tables?
- Our picnic tables are available year-round, first come first serve. No reservations are needed!
Do you sell oysters to eat at your retail store?
- Yes, we offer shucked oysters on the half-shell every day.
- You may shuck your own oysters at our picnic grounds Monday through Friday.
Can I bring my own food and beer/wine?
- No outside beer or wine will be permitted on the premise.
- You may bring food in with you.
Are you dog friendly?
- Due to an unfortunate incident where an owner did not take responsibility for their dog we no longer welcome dogs or any pets onto the property.
How do I prepare oysters?
- Oysters can be prepared in many different ways. Take a look at our Shucking and Cooking page for some basics to get you started; and then check out our Pinterest page for more detailed recipe ideas!
Which wines pair best with oysters?
- It all depends on personal preference and your wine likes and dislikes, but we can give you some pointers.
- White wines typically are paired with oysters to complement their delicate flavor but if you prefer red wines there are some options.
- When cooking oysters either with barbecue sauce or with a heartier sauce, a lighter, less tannic red wine can be a perfect match.
- Raw oysters with a splash of lemon juice or hot sauce can be enjoyed with any lighter, refreshing white wines. Sauvignon blanc, un-oaked chardonnay, pinot grigio, and even rieslings pair well with raw oysters. Sparkling wines are also a treat to sip with oysters because the bubbles offset the saltiness.