Tomales Bay Oyster Company: Farm-to-Table Freshness

For a true farm-to-table oyster experience, pay a visit to Tomales Bay Oyster Company in Marshall, California. Visitors travel from around the world to picnic on the shore and taste the company’s “Golden Nugget” oyster, a tumbled oyster with delectably plump meat. See what makes this shellfish farm one-of-a-kind.

Released on 6/4/2014

Credits

Starring: Sean O'Brien and Luiz Sanchez

Transcript

00:00
The largest oyster I had was about this big.
00:03
It was good, it was rather chewy.
00:05
I myself prefer a much smaller oyster.
00:08
(cheerful jingle)
00:13
(mellow music)
00:21
Tomales Bay Oyster Company is the oldest continually-run
00:24
shellfish farm in Tomales Bay, been here since 1909.
00:29
Back then, we did have a railroad that ran
00:31
kind of in our picnic area so the farmers
00:33
would harvest the oysters, put 'em on the train,
00:36
and then the train would chip them down to Sausalito.
00:40
My name is Sean O'Brien, I've been a part of the Tomales Bay
00:44
Oyster Company family for about five years now.
00:49
Everything out here is fueled by
00:51
northwest winds in the springtime.
00:54
That northwest wind creates a really
00:57
nutrient-dense oyster environment.
01:00
We get little baby oysters, about the size of a penny
01:03
and plant in our oyster bags, attach them in big stringers
01:07
and then they grow, takes about two years,
01:10
depending on the season.
01:12
The special thing about golden nuggets
01:14
is the location where they're grown.
01:16
We grow 'em down here in the southern end of our farm
01:18
so they're exposed to more green algae.
01:21
As they're suspended, they're being rocked constantly
01:23
by the wind waves, that knocks the brim of the shell,
01:27
creating a more round, deep cup shape.
01:30
And inside, when you open the oyster,
01:31
the meat is really plump.
01:34
We get our flavor from the bay itself.
01:40
The brininess, the algae,
01:42
you experience that through eating oysters.
01:46
I prefer a winter oyster, they have a lower salinity content
01:50
and a really nice sweet flavor.
01:52
During the summer, you get a softer texture
01:55
as that oyster gets ready to spawn.
01:59
We sell 'em all right here, really fresh,
02:01
right out of the tanks.
02:03
Our secret weapon here is our wet holding tanks.
02:06
That draws water from the bay, we run it through our UV
02:10
filtration system, which will actually
02:11
kill any live bacteria that might be present.
02:15
The oyster runs that filtered water
02:17
through its system and it purges any mud, sand.
02:21
Oyster picnicking has become a very popular hobby.
02:25
Everybody's out here to enjoy beautiful mother nature,
02:29
to be with their families and have a nice picnic.
02:32
Majority of our customers do prefer a raw oyster.
02:36
However, barbecued oysters is very popular.
02:39
She likes them. I like it when they're hot
02:40
and they're just kinda like steamy,
02:43
and you open it, it's like clean.
02:47
[Sean] We do have an oyster bar
02:49
3.1 miles north of us called the Marshall Store.
02:53
Very popular for fresh oysters, grilled, raw, Rockefeller.
02:59
It attracts a lot of people, I think,
03:00
'cause they're so delicious.
03:02
Butter comes in as soon as the oyster touches the grill.
03:05
You know the oyster's done when
03:07
it starts to brown around the edges.
03:10
This is the famous Marshall Store barbecued oyster.
03:15
[Sean] Favorite part of my job is getting to meet
03:17
really interesting people from all over the world.
03:21
We get people here from Italy, China, Japan,
03:25
Texas, Chicago, Alaska, Mexico, France, Spain, and Rome.
03:33
(chuckles)
03:34
I don't know about Rome, actually,
03:35
just threw that one in there.
03:40
Hey if you like oysters as much as we do,
03:43
you're gonna wanna subscribe to the epicentic--
03:47
[Director] Epicurious!
03:48
Epicurious.
03:49
To epicentic culture, I forgot.
03:52
[Director] It's curious.
03:53
To Epicurious for more food.