Oysters (and other Shellfish) from Tomales Bay
The Hog Island Oyster Company operates 3 tidal lease in Tomales Bay, formerly operated by Intertidal Oyster Farms:
- Mouth of Estero Americano
- Tom's Point
- Tomasini Point
The operation under the Hog Island Oyster is basically the same as before, with some new products, particularly the Sweetwater Oyster which has been developed by Hog Island. They grow a Pacific Oyster in the tidal land at the mouth of the Estero Americano, an area which is richest in nutrients where the river meets the sea. These Sweetwater Oysters are so usually sweet, Hog Island has applied for a registered trademark under that name.
|Sweetwater Oyster (extra small - large)||$8.00 dozen|
|Manila Clams||$4.50 pound|
|Tomales Bay Mussels||$4.00 pound|
|Atlantic Oysters||$8.00 dozen|
|Kumamoto Oysters (when available)||$9.00 dozen|
|Belon Oysters (when available)||$9.75 dozen|
Prices may vary 25¢ - 50¢ depending on the season.
How to Grow an Oyster
Since it takes an oyster 1 - 2 years to reach marketable size, it's important to stagger the "planting" to have enough mature oysters each day of the week to meet demand on a steady year-round basis. To do this, the "farm's" 400 beds are divided into 6 sections. Each section holds 4 fishnet-type plastic bags tied to steel bars which are suspended over the tidal water beds. Once the seedlings that are "planted" attach themselves to the tiny shell substrates held within each bag, they're content to stay there for up to 2 years. Three times each week, mature oysters are harvested by boat.
The Perfect Oyster
The oysters are coaxed to grow round shells and are harvested when they are no more than 2" in diameter and have a 1/2" morsel of meat inside. Considering the oyster's texture, it's easier to eat ones that are small and round rather than long and narrow -- so that's why they are cultivated to be round. Customers Hog Island's oysters to be healthy and sand-free because they never touch the bottom of the ocean.
Exercising The Oysters
Did you know that oysters need exercise so they'll reach the market in top condition? By cultivating them in the "intertidal zone" for most of their lives, Mother Nature put them through a daily exercise routine that makes them fit. The process is simple:
Like many other specialty producers, Hog Island concentrates on selling only at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, a few selected San Francisco restaurants and direct at the shoreside "farm" in the village of Marshall in Tomales Bay on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Hog Island will make up a special order for you to pick at the Ferry Plaza Market if you call ahead by Wednesday before the Saturday market day. They will also cater an Oyster Bar for large parties. You can make arrangements with them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jerry, Hog Island's representative at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza
Farmers' Market, can be found every Saturday year-round and he's ready to give prospective
customers oyster samples, laced with one of his recommended sauces.
Also Available through "Martha-by-Mail"
Starting in March 1999, Hog Island's Kumamoto or Sweetwater oysters can be purchased through Martha Stewart's mail order catalog. Either type runs $48.00 for 2 dozen. Call 1-800-950-7130 for further information.
Saturday Market Home Page
To contact the vendor, please use information at the top of this page.
Sauces for Oysters
1 cup rice wine vinegar
Soy Ginger Sauce
1 cup tamari sauce
1 cup catsup