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Tomales Bay Oyster Company

An oyster farm in Marshall, California.

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An awesome spot to shuck oysters from straight out of the water!

  • Jul 4, 2011
Rating:
+5
With the weather around here being so lovely lately, there's no better time to go shucking oysters at the source than now, so this past weekend, several of my friends and I went to shuck some of California's best oysters at the source -- Tomales Bay.

We woke up at 6 AM, prepped, and packed a ton of food and supplies, then drove an hour and half northward from Berkeley to Marshall (the city, not the discount store!).  I had packed fresh fruit, salad making ingredients, mimosa ingredients, as well as made my own watermelon mignonette.  On top of that, my friends also had marinated meats, veggie kabobs, plus a ton of other beverages and snack items.  Since the oyster farm's website said that picnic tables filled up fast on the weekends, by around 11 AM, we aimed to get there at 10:30 AM.

Lovely view on the way there
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5073/5892435470_a67aca7b14.jpg

We ended up getting there on time and parking was aplenty, as were the tables.  Only about half the tables and half of the private parking spots were taken at the point.  Score!  We secured a table at what we felt was a prime location for us, right by the water and hauled all of our stuff there.  We had a huge cooler full of ice and grub, utensils, coals, garden gloves and oyster knives.  Then it was off to purchase oysters...

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5039/5891856355_9b78a637cc.jpg

A variety of oysters can be purchased by the dozen or by fifty.  They also had mussels and clams.  On this day, they had both Tomales Bay and Washington State oysters, as well as Tomales Bay mussels and Manila clams.  We figured you could get Manila clams anywhere, so we stuck with a variety of the four three -- 50 small Tomales Bay oysters, a dozen medium Washington State ones, and two pounds of Tomales Bay mussels among the five of us, which came out to $65.

We immediately put our goods on ice and spent the next several hours slowly shucking, BBQing and exploring...

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6034/5898884313_5e1452e00d.jpg

We ate most of the oysters raw
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5278/5891795191_cc87dc9498.jpg

But also BBQ'ed a few
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5236/5891852653_ccbe1a57df.jpg
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6050/5892361986_13af3d7080.jpg

The bulk of our leftover shells
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6058/5892416844_5bcc772e97.jpg

There's a small beach area that's gorgeous
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5152/5892413248_432f40fdec.jpg

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6020/5891848809_a7d744f34c.jpg

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http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6057/5892409678_6ed277a270.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5240/5892363082_b161bcd62d.jpg


We ended up leaving at around 2:30-3'ish, with all the salad and fruit untouched, but all of our seafood and bubbly gone.  Every single one of us was in a food coma.  I can't wait to go oyster shucking on an oyster farm again.  Perhaps next time we'll drive a little further up north to Hog Island Oyster for some variety.

Here are some tips for your weekend visit to Tomales Bay:
  • Plan on arriving early to secure a table.  Around 10:30-11 AM.
  • If anyone in your car gets motion sickness easily, don't drive up Highway 1, it's really windy.  Pick another route.  I just so happen to love windy roads though and felt like I got a pretty good oblique workout from all the turns!
  • Bring a huge cooler filled with ice, plus large trays and platters.  You're going to want to put ice out on the trays and lay your oysters out of them after they're shucked.
  • Bring all your own utensils and other supplies.  They do sell some supplies there, like oyster knives, limes, hot sauce, but I suggest bringing your own.
  • Food-wise, bring things to BBQ, plus snacks and plenty of beverages.  Bring some wine pairings for the oysters!
  • Condiment-wise, bring hot sauces, mignonettes, limes, lemons, and whatever else you'd like on your oysters.
  • Wear sunblock, sunglasses, and layers of clothing as the you never know how the weather may adjust by the water.  Bring an umbrella tent if you can.
  • Keep the boom box and your own personal BBQ at home; they don't allow either.  Plus, they already play music and each table has its own BBQ.
  • They also have a bunch of other weird guidelines that I'm sure are there for a good reason, so keep those in mind.

One last random thing that I wanted to add -- an overheard quote.  One of the most hilarious things that I overheard that day was from a guy debating with his girlfriend over what kind of shellfish to purchase.  His argument was, "Clams, they just open up.  Oysters, you have to shuck".

You have to admit -- there's no cooler way to eat oysters than from right out of the water at the source, especially on such a gorgeous day with such wonderful company.
A great spot to shuck oysters straight out of the water!

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January 09, 2012
Sounds like a hell of a nice time.
January 09, 2012
It was! You should check it out sometime :)
January 09, 2012
Well, as I might make a visit to California in the near future, I'll keep it in mind.
 
August 02, 2011
You are very welcome.
 
August 01, 2011
The review captures the essence of eating fine oyster preparations.
August 01, 2011
Thanks for the kind words, J :)
 
July 15, 2011
I'm not a big fan of oysters but I'll be darned if your review didn't make me hungry. And what a beautiful spot!
August 01, 2011
Oysters in general, or just when they're raw? They're plenty tasty when BBQ'ed! And thank you. It is a beautiful spot that you should visit sometime!
August 02, 2011
Just raw. I enjoy them smoked and have to try them BBQed some time! :)
August 04, 2011
Yes, just toss them on the grill and they'll open up themselves, then toss some sauce on, grill for a bit more and you're in business! :D
 
July 09, 2011
awesome review!!!!!!!!!
July 09, 2011
Thanks, Bobby! Hope you get to go sometime :)
 
July 07, 2011
I'm so going!
July 07, 2011
Is this on the way to Squaw Valley? ;P
 
July 06, 2011
Oysters are my #1 favorite food (don't tell my sweet tooth) and this is like my dream vacation. I'm trying to organize a trip up north for next year and I think Tomalas Bay needs to be high on the priority list of places to check out =D
July 06, 2011
My lips are sealed! ;) If you're coming when it's warm, Tomales Bay definitely needs to be up on your list! Let me know if you need any other suggestions! :)
 
July 06, 2011
Awesome review, Debbie! I drove past this place on my way home from the Russian River- yeah I decided to take the 1, it was windy as heck but, what a beautiful route.

I told myself that I'd have to come back to Tomales Bay because it was so beautiful and now that I know they sell oysters straight from the water, I'm definitely coming back!

Oh, and thanks for sharing the watermelon mignonette recipe- that looks FANTASTIC!
July 06, 2011
Oooooh, I'll have to make it up to Russian River one of these days! Perhaps on my next oyster shucking trip. I didn't realize it was on the way! Yes, do go oyster shucking there with that watermelon mignonette! :)
July 07, 2011
Well, it's quite the trek but, it's a nice road trip. It'll take you about 3 hours on the 1 and once you get to Jenner, you can see the River hit the ocean, quite a site!
July 07, 2011
Well, considering I've driven across the country before, mission accepted ;)
 
July 05, 2011
LOL! You must have had a blast! Now, I need to go get some real food, you are making me hungry!
July 05, 2011
I did! And go get some! :P
 
July 04, 2011
oh my....Dev scored another one. Nice one, Dev!! happy 4th!!
July 05, 2011
Thanks, Woo! Hope you had a good one, too :)
 
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About the reviewer
devora ()
Ranked #1
When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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Address: 15479 Hwy 1, Marshall, CA 94940
Phone: (415) 663-1242

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