Some friends and I got together at Drakes Bay Oyster Farm last weekend and had ourselves an oyster shucking picnic. Collectively we consumed about 12 dozen oysters along with bread, cheese, meats, wine, champagne, and desserts. Some of us shucked and ate nonstop for three hours, and it was glorious. Despite the dazzling sun, the weather, at 56 degrees Fahrenheit pre-wind chill, was still too cold for comfort. I anticipated wearing a tank top but ended up shivering in my sweatshirt and leggings.
Drakes Bay Oyster Farm sold four sizes of oysters: extra small, small, medium, and large, in dozen increments, all for approximately equivalent prices. I bought one dozen smalls ($9) and one dozen mediums ($10) initially, and after deciding that the mediums were too hard to shuck, I bought another five dozen smalls ($45). The Boyfriend and I ended up eating about five dozen total during the picnic and took the other two dozen home.
To me, there was virtually no difference in taste between the sizes, but one of the girls, a former chef for Michael Mina, said that the smaller oysters were subtlely sweet while the medium ones had a meatier taste.
To season the oysters, the same girl brought a delicious lemon sorbet that quickly became lemon juice in the sun. I loved the oysters and sorbet individually but didn’t particularly like them combined. The Boyfriend made an Asian mignonette sauce that turned out to be the group favorite. One of the girls nicknamed it the Awesome Sauce. Here’s the recipe from Food Network.
After we brought our leftover oysters home, I looked up ways to store them in the fridge. Here are the eHow directions I followed. In the process, I learned that oysters are alive when you buy them fresh from the farm (a seemingly obvious fact that was not innately obvious to me) and die slowly over the course of several days. The more alive an oyster is, the harder it is to pop its shell, and the day-to-day difference is noticeable—oysters that are almost impossible to shuck fresh will offer little resistance after a few days in the fridge.
a bag of small oysters from Drakes Bay Oyster Farm