Pearls of the Pacific: Eating Oysters in Pacific County

Apr 8, 2024 | Food & Drink

In the rhythmic flow of the ocean’s tides lives a treasure coveted by seafood enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike: the succulent oysters of Pacific County. Here, where the salt-kissed sea ties itself to the ribbon of the Willapa River, one of the world’s purest estuaries produces some of the most delectable shellfish you’ve ever tasted. Join us as we take you on a culinary adventure to find the West Coast’s most revered briny morsels. Let’s dive in and discover what makes these ocean jewels so unique.

Why are Oysters from Pacific County so Special?

It’s important to note that we’re not shilling (shucking?) swill shellfish. The oysters in Pacific County come from Willapa Bay, and Willapa Bay oysters are renowned and revered across the globe. If you’ve eaten oysters in the United States, you’ve likely munched on one of our mollusks. A staggering one in every four oysters consumed in the nation comes from our pristine waters. The currents of our small towns are teeming with these decadent treats.

2. Oysters in Pacific County - Special

Our coastal haven nestles in the confluence of bays, rivers, and the Pacific Ocean, creating a protected nursery where oysters can leisurely grow plump and divine. As the ocean flows into the bay, it churns it with a steady stream of nutrients that nourish and fatten the shellfish. Lush forests protect the bay from outside pollution, creating a healthy estuary environment where our gems of the sea can bathe until prime harvesting time.

The result of this fresh-saltwater tango is our voluptuous, velvety oysters, desired from coast to coast. Their texture is silky and tender, a perfect, briny blend of salty and delicately sweet. Sumptuous, indulgent, and luxurious, you can still taste them on your lips after you swallow, like a kiss from a siren of the sea.

Where Can You Find Oysters in Pacific County?

Being the Oyster Capital of the World, it’s easy to find oysters in Pacific County. You can order them on almost any menu in the region, buy them in every store, and even sip them in a cold glass of beer.

3. Oysters in Pacific County - Where - credit stephanie Forrer

Image Courtesy of: Stephanie Forrer

Shoot ’em from a shot glass, order them fried, enjoy them barbecued, or dredge them in hot sauce, minuet, garlic butter, garlic aioli, or nothing at all. No matter how you choose to indulge, the oysters in Pacific County are some of the best things you’ll ever taste.

In addition to the taverns and restaurants in our area, there are a handful of specialty locations where farm-to-table takes on a whole new meaning. Slurp our nautical delicacies directly from the following sources.

Oysterville Sea Farms in Oysterville

The oyster boom in our region was so monumental that it gave birth to a namesake town. Oysterville is a historical storybook town less than 30 minutes from downtown Long Beach. Picture-perfect cottages and whimsical gardens cover the tiny village, suspending it in time. Its heritage solidified its place on the National Register of Historic Places, and its oysters cement its place in oyster royalty.

4. Oysters in Pacific County - Oysterville

Visit Oysterville Sea Farms on the dock overlooking the tidal flats and eelgrass. Order a dozen oysters, and they’ll serve them on a bed of ice with slices of lemon and a ramekin of cocktail sauce. Grab a local beer or icy cola to wash them down, then settle into an Adirondack chair facing Willapa Bay. The barbeque fires up when the weather is kind to grill the delicious delights. No matter their preparation, tipping their oysters into your mouth while the gentle, salty breeze kisses your cheek may be one of the most perfect moments in your life.

They harvest their oysters by hand and limit the number they pull each year. Book an oyster farm tour for a deeper dive into their sustainable process. Experience a 90-minute walking tour of the interpretive center and production facilities. Walk out onto their oyster beds and learn about the life of an oyster. End the experience with a shucking class, where you can enjoy the fruits of your newfound knowledge. Remember your camera to capture the ivory towers of empty shells that block out the sun.

Goose Point Family Farm & Oystery

The tidelands of Goose Point Family Farm & Oystery have been in the family name since 1975. When their story started, it involved a mere 10 acres and ice totes of oysters sold out of the back of a pickup truck. Today, they boast nearly 2,000 acres and are the second-largest estuary on the Pacific Coast.

5. Oysters in Pacific County - Goose Point - credit Goose Point Oysters

Image Courtesy of: Goose Point Oysters

Goose Point oysters are found in many local restaurants and on menus worldwide. The company processes more than 2 million pounds of shellfish products each year. Their oysters can be found as far as Ching and Hong Kong. With this level of expertise, sampling their oysters should be on your radar.

Order their oyster shooters from almost any bar or restaurant in Pacific County. Or visit their dockside oystery directly. Their small gift shop serves a variety of ocean treasures. Stock up on smoked salmon, smoked oysters, rockfish filets, shrimp, salmon jerky, and hot sauces. Grab a BBQ Dinner bundle with three dozen oysters in the shell, cocktail sauces, and six oyster shooters. If you can’t wait until you return to town, toss a few back while sitting on the dock. Their oysters are sinfully delicious. Plump, rich, and silky, once you taste them, they will visit you again and again in your dreams.

Willapa Artisan Kitchen

Off the beaten track is the Willapa Artisan Kitchen. Find it tucked up on a winding drive leading into a forest; a simple, colorful sign on Sandridge Road marks the location. The artisan kitchen has proudly stood on its plot of land for over 20 years, but its roots extend even further. The owner’s ancestors crabbed and fished the surrounding waters of our region at the beginning of the 20th century, luring maritime delicacies from the depths for years. That generational love for seafood is seen in offerings on their menu today.

6. Oysters in Pacific County - Willapa Artisan - credit Danelle Dodds

Image Courtesy of: Danelle Dodds

Dive headfirst into a bowl of their Dungeness crab corn chowder. The creamy broth is thick with sweet yellow corn, leeks, cremini mushrooms, potato, and a splash of Riesling. Crunch into their panko-encrusted crab cakes entirely made with 100% crab meat. Savor a bowl of their crab mac-and-cheese, where tender chunks of fresh Dungeness crab compete for space alongside perfectly al dente pasta in an arena of three kinds of cheese.

But we’re here for the oysters. Their Korean spicy smoked oysters are hardwood smoked with Korean red pepper flakes, sesame oil, fresh garlic, and soy sauce. Fiery, flavorful, and fantastic, you can wolf down the entire container of these morsels while sitting on their bay or forest view tables. Stock up on Willapa petite “precious” or large varieties. Purchase packs of their shucked oysters in pints or quarts. Pick your favorites and have them shipped overnight to enjoy the taste long after your boots leave their yard.

Shuck Yeah! More Ways to Enjoy Oysters in Pacific County

When the world is your oyster, it shows. In Pacific County, there is more than one way to enjoy our oysters.

7. Oysters in Pacific County - More Ways

Shuck your own oysters at the Nahcotta Tidelands during their year-round harvesting. Grab a license, a container, and a shucking knife. Oysters are the masters of recycling, and they repurpose their shells for future oyster homes, so you will have to shuck them onsite. Eat them on the rocks overlooking the bay, or pack them on ice to enjoy later.

Snap a selfie (or should we say shellfie?) at the World’s Largest Oyster in South Bend. This popular roadside attraction is perfect for family photos.

Dive into the history of oystermen at the Willapa Bay Interpretive Center. Learn the story of oyster history through photos, artifacts, and videos.

Add a soundtrack to your love of our pearls of the Pacific with our annual Jazz & Oyster festival. This summertime fest happens at the Port of Peninsula and features live music, dancing, drinking, and celebrated shellfish. Take in views of the bay our famous oysters call home while swooning under the glorious Pacific Northwest sky.

No matter how you shellabrate our tidal treats, the story of Pacific County is tucked inside every shell. It’s a story of tradition, family, flavor, and our timeless love affair with the sea.


Pearls of the Pacific: Eating Oysters in Pacific County

By: Danelle Dodds

Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.




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