Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Farm, Hog Island Oyster Company

Friends invited us to go north to eat oysters near Bodega Bay. They were aiming for the Hog Island Oyster Company 'The Farm' on the Tamales Bay, CA (just northeast of Point Reyes N.S.) at 20215 Highway 1, Marshall, CA.
We met up at their place in San Francisco and drove the Golden Gate Bridge north, then traveled over toward the coast. They came prepared with ingredients to prepare sauce for oysters, beer, fruit, cheese and pita crackers. We brought wine, as we didn't know what else to expect.
Upon arriving along the crowded coast (an unusually warm and sunny day for this time of the year), we took advantage of the free valet parking. There is substantial remodeling happening on the property, so fencing barricades lead us north, then west around a building. Our immediate view was of a crowded group of warm (nearly 70 degrees), and sunny revelers. We hunted for an available picnic table.
Note: ~6 picnic tables along the outside (by the fence) are by reservation only (call ahead); ~6 picnic tables + 1 stand-up table 'inside' the semi-circle of outer tables are first-come-first-served (and sharing is encouraged--if not necessary!) The other difference between the outer and inner tables (all outdoor) is that the outer tables require self-shucking of the oysters and have ~89 cent oysters available, and the inner tables have house-shucked oysters for ~$2 each. Obviously each has it's advantage, plan ahead.
Atlantic Oysters
Our host ordered one-dozen barbecued oysters and two-dozen raw small-sized "Sweetwater" oysters. When those were done we had two-dozen raw "Atlantic" (type, not raised there) oysters. 
Small Sweetwater Oysters
Temporary storage for harvested oysters, Hog Island Oyster, Co.
All the oysters were fabulous as they're all farm-raised a 100 yards away by 'mud flats'/on oyster beds, then stored a short time in containers where fresh bay water flows in and out (so the water doesn't become toxic).
It was fun to go to the source and drink all the bring-your-own-beverages, and accompaniment food in a relaxed setting. The Bay Area's weekend-idle riche (guy sporting a "Facebook developer" t-shirt, former 'Lehman wife'-turned-'Google wife' with a large ring some would inadvertently assume costume, etc.) unintentionally congregated to this local like Surat's "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." A french bulldog was our table-mate for the glorious foodie afternoon.

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