Months with “r” are well known for being the best time for eating oysters, and that’s no accident. Traditionally, cold months bring a more desirable texture and flavor. Now, with modern growing techniques, you can enjoy plump, delicious oysters year-round no matter the season.
What Makes Willapa Bay Oysters so Special
Here in Pacific County, our oysters are fresh from the cleanest estuary in the United States. Willapa Bay is virtually untouched by big industry and because of its large size, the tides flush it out daily. Many of the farms are family owned (some are in their third generation), and the oyster industry in Willapa Bay is over 160 years old. They each have unique twists on their cultivation practices. It might go without saying, there’s a lot of pride behind our oysters.
The Willapa Bay oysters have a unique taste among the Pacific oysters found in Washington. A light briny flavor and delicate, sweet cucumber notes define the flavor profile of these oysters. Rowen Jacobsen of The Oyster Guide describes them as “pure sea as you get in a Pacific oyster”. These mouthwatering bivalves account for 25% of oysters in the United States, but many of them never make it to the half-shell because their shape is often not ideal in the culinary world. This makes dining at the source a truly unique experience.
When and Where to Enjoy Our Oysters
For you oyster lovers, plan a trip during one of these chilly “r” months. Buy Willapa Bay oysters fresh from our seafood markets or enjoy them at many of our local restaurants. Oysterville Sea Farms also has a variety of sizes avaialble. Whether you enjoy your oysters barbecued, smoked, fried, or raw, you can find a place to enjoy every variation here.
If you’re in the mood to shuck, head to Nahcotta to harvest oysters for yourself. A shellfish license is needed if you choose to visit the Nahcotta Tidelands for your oysters. Be sure to review the regulations (including size, daily limits, and shucking on site).
Eating a Willapa Bay oyster in Pacific County is more than a foodie experience. The bay is home to an abundance of wildlife, including elk, waterfowl, otters, porcupines, and many others. This peaceful Pacific Northwest setting is perfect for a romantic getaway or simply a timeout from society. Once you have experienced this for yourself, a Willapa Bay oyster will always conjure memories of misty foothills, dramatic Washington skies, and the quiet bay itself.