What do I do with these oysters?

The Basics: First, unpack the box and put the oysters in the fridge. If you're eating them within a day, just throw the oysters in the refer. If you're going to hold off a few days, baby them a little bit: arrange the oysters cupped side down on a tray or in a bowl with a damp towel over the top. Never re-introduce oysters to the wild... don't hang them off the dock or soak them in water you scoop out of the bay. Raw oysters are best at about 36 degrees, which is colder than the average refrigerator, so be sure to get some ice.

More info: In refrigerators, the danger is that live oysters will dry out, hence the damp towel, cupped-side-down bit. When you're storing oysters on ice, take precautions to prevent them from sitting too long (or at all) in fresh water. Keep the drain plug open, or drain the cooler regularly. Stored properly, Pacific oysters should keep for up to 5 days. (See below for tips on freezing). But really, you should eat oysters as soon as possible after you buy them, because why not?

Takeaways: Live oysters may open slightly in a refrigerator, but should still respond (close) when they're handled. Dead oysters gape open and don't move. If it's hollow when you tap on it, it may have a chink in the shell or it may be dead, but it's almost certainly dried out. If you're at all doubtful about the safety or age of the oyster, either cook it or throw it out. The point of eating a raw oyster is to eat something with life force, something that's alive. If it's been in the refrigerator too long, or if it's been frozen, cook it up into something delicious. Don't force the issue by slurping it down.

To ensure safety, cook an oyster to an internal temperature of 145 degrees for 15 seconds.

to top

How do I store / handle / prepare clams?

The Basics: Keep clams cold in a refrigerator or in a cooler on ice. We make sure the clams have time to purge before we ship them, so they shouldn't need to be soaked, but whenever you're eating clams, chew carefully and gaurd against grit (see below). If you’re not planning on eating them that same day, put a damp cloth over them so they don't dry out. Before you cook them: rinse the clams carefully and make sure they're all closed up and alive. Do not soak or store clams in foreign salt water, you might contaminate them.

More Info: Cold clams gape slightly, about a quarter inch or so, but should still close up when you move them around. (Dead clams open completely, and shouldn't be eaten.) Clams will keep well for 3 to 4 days. If you do want to soak the clams, put them in cold water for about half an hour, changing the water two or three times. (This piece of advice comes from our good friend and amazing chef Renee Erickson). Don't let them sit in fresh water for too long, because that will kill them eventually. Keep in mind that if you do soak your clams, you may need to add salt to whatever dish you're cooking. If you don't soak the clams in fresh water, they'll bring enough salt all on their own to any dish you're preparing.

Takeaways: As you rinse and handle clams, listen for clunkers: it may be a dead clam, or just a clam with a broken shell. Don't steam clams directly in the dish you're preparing, just in case there's a mud bomb in the bunch. Using that same logic, always chew carefully, and don't empty the pot of clam nectar into your sauce, as there's often a little bit of sand in the bottom of a clam steaming pot. Lastly, if you know that the clams were alive and happy when you put them in the pot, keep on cooking the ones that don't open. They're perfectly safe to eat.

to top

Can I freeze shellfish? How do I cook it?

Cooking shellfish is fundamentally very, very simple. If you can turn on an oven or boil water, you can cook delicious shellfish. That said, we do have a few tips to offer. Head over to our recipe page for clam pasta recipes, oyster casseroles, and our super secret amazing fried oyster recipe. Here's where you can find shucking instructions for raw oysters, and here are some ideas for serving raw oysters.

Freezing Shellfish is a bit trickier. Yes, you can freeze raw shellfish, but only if you're going to cook it later. You could eat a previously frozen oyster raw, but why? It would be healthy, but not magical. For us, the point of eating an oyster raw is to eat something alive, something with life force.

So, assuming you're going to cook the shellfish after you freeze it, here are our recommendations. Shucked oysters freeze really well for up to three months in ziplock freezer bags. Some of our customers also freeze oysters in the shell, but we typically don't recommend this as they get freezer burned too easily. Likewise with clams... some people freeze live clams, we say eat them with they're alive and enjoy the heck out of them. Crab cakes freeze reasonably well for up to a month, in a ziplock bag or the container they came in.

But your best bet is to eat everything when it's fresh. That's the point!

to top

How do I know these are safe to eat?

In General: Oyster and clams are low on the food chain and relatively short lived, meaning that bioaccumulation (the movement of contaminants up the food chain) isn't an issue. Shellfish also is very nutritious, containing healthy omega3 fatty acids, zinc, iron, and other essential nutrients.

The Washington State Department of Health has a very robust monitoring system, ensuring that shellfish in Washington is only harvested from approved estuaries. That said, anybody eating shellfish should use common sense. Raw food, especially raw shellfish, is inherently more dangerous than cooked food, and eating it increases the likelihood of food-borne illness. So, buy from a reputable location (or directly from the farm!), don't eat raw shellfish if you're pregnant or immune-compromised, and don't eat something if it smells bad, looks bad, looks at you funny, or if you're unsure it's been kept cold enough.

In Particular: We're very fortunate to harvest oysters in one of the cleanest estuaries in Washington State. Our farm has no history of industrial waste or manufacturing, there are very few boats nearby that might contaminate the water, and there are very few houses in the upstream watershed. When we source oysters from other beaches or farms we do so very carefully, and work with people who share our values for product safety and quality.

Shellfish Smarts: Oysters are seasonal and there's no sense eating something out of season. Seasonality varies with growing location. Warm water in the summertime is a good thing because it lets the oysters reproduce, but it also encourages a naturally occurring saltwater bacteria called vibrio to flourish. These bacteria are not “red tide.” They’re associated with warm water and can be made worse by improper handling, but cooking the oysters thoroughly makes them safe to eat.

Because of this, not all of our varieties are available year round. During the summer we primarily harvest oysters from growing areas that stay cold year round. We normally stop selling Blue Pools and Hama Hamas to eat raw sometime in July or August, depending on the year, and start selling them again sometime in September or October.

Check our blog for information about whether or not we're selling oysters for raw consumption, read the "what to do with oysters" section above for some safe handling tips, or just give us a call!

to top

Is Farming Shellfish a Good Thing?

Yes! Farmed shellfish is amazingly sustainable, growing on nothing but seawater and sunshine. Once oysters and clams mature past the larval stage in the hatcheries they require no additional food… they just consume whatever is in the water naturally. We don’t use pesticides, fertilizers, or chemicals of any kind on our beaches. And shellfish can help maintain a healthy ecosystem by filtering algae out of the water, keeping the water clear so that sunlight can penetrate and plants can grow. One of our priorities as farmers is to make sure there are plenty of oysters on the beach, so that we always have some to harvest, and so that there are enough to spawn every year. Oysters also provide habitat for creatures such as shore crab, gunnels, and sculpin, which hide beneath oyster clusters to escape the sun (at low tide) and bigger predators (at high tide). Shellfish provide lots of food for other animals, including migrating waterfowl. Finally, keeping estuaries healthy for shellfish production benefits wild and farmed populations alike.

More good news... We love growing shellfish for many reasons, and one is that it aligns economic and environmental interests. In most industries, corporations can have better profit margins when they ignore environmental health. But in the shellfish industry, the bottom line looks better as environmental quality improves. This creates economic incentives to keep watersheds healthy and to recover polluted waterways. And, the farmed product itself provides habitat and ecosystem services.

... and it's fun! Yes, shellfish farmers grow really healthy food with very few inputs and provide good paying jobs for people in rural economies, but it’s about more than money: oysters build social capital and create a shared identity around work and food. Harvesting and eating raw oysters is about as close to nature as you can get, and it’s normally a shared experience. Plus, it's delicious. :)

to top

Order Guidelines

Choosing a Shipping Service: Overnight delivery is available Tuesday through Friday. Second day delivery, an option during the colder months (from October through April), is available Wednesday through Friday. To keep things relaxing, we recommend that you ship the oysters to arrive the day before you need them. All orders ship with FedEx. Local orders (Puget Sound to Portland) ship with FedEx Ground. Everything else ships with FedEx Express (Standard or Priority) or Second Day service.

FYI: We only ship to locations within the US.

Placing an order: Cutoff for next day delivery is 10 am Pacific time. Please specify a desired delivery date during checkout, otherwise we’ll ship your order at the next available opportunity.

What time will your order arrive?

Here are FedEx Delivery Guarantee Times:

To Residences:

  • Standard Overnight and Second Day Air: guaranteed by 8 pm.
  • Priority Overnight: Guaranteed by 10:30 am, unless you're in the boonies, in which case 3 pm.
  • FedEx Ground (only available for local shipments): no guarantee.

To Businesses:

  • Standard Overnight and Second Day Air: Guaranteed by 3 pm (urban) or 4:30 pm (rural).
  • Priority Overnight: Guaranteed by 10:30 am (urban) or 3 pm (rural).
  • FedEx Ground (only available for local shipments): no guarantee, usually early.

Giving a gift? You can specify when you want the product delivered and whether you’d like to include a gift message during checkout. Please make sure the recipient will be home to receive the package.... surprise seafood packages are great, but you also want to make sure someone is there to put the food in the fridge.

Important Advice! We do not ship to PO Boxes, only street addresses. If you’re shipping to an apartment, please make sure that FedEx has permission to leave items at the door. Usually FedEx delivers in the morning, so if you're shipping to a business, make sure it's open! If they're unable to deliver (either to a closed business or a locked apartment building), you might have to pick the package up at a FedEx warehouse.

Major Caveat: Please remember that we do our best to satisfy every order that comes in, but due to the nature of our business, product is occasionally temporarily unavailable. If that is the case, we will notify you right away and let you know the earliest shipping date.

to top

Cancellations, Credits, Refunds

Cancellations: You can cancel an order as late as 10 am the day it's supposed to ship. Please give us 24 hours notice if you’d like to modify an order.

Messed up orders Give us a call! We're in this for the long run and want to build customer loyalty, so we want you to be happy. If your order gets lost, damaged, destroyed, delivered late, or mis-picked we may either refund your money, reship the product, or give you a discount on your next order, depending on your preferences, who made the mistake, and whether it was a complete or partial loss.

Refunds / Returns: 1. If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you can return non-perishable items (such as knives or shirts) in original packaging within fourteen days of the shipping date for a full refund excluding shipping costs. You pay return shipping. 2. If you need a new size, you can also exchange a non-perishable item in NEW condition within fourteen days of the ship date. Please pay for return postage and let us know what size you'd like. 3. If it's defective: We have a 30 day guarantee on all our non-perishable product. If the product is found to be defective, returns or exchanges will be accepted within thirty days of the ship date.

Talk to someone who cares: We want happy customers! Please give us a call and tell us how we can help.

to top

Map and Directions

map graphic of the Puget Sound. View in Google Maps