The best way to include oysters at your cookout this summer? Have them shipped to your doorstep. If you get them direct from an oyster farm, you won’t need to wonder how long they’ve been sitting high and dry at the local grocery store. They’re in the ocean one day, and you’re slurping them down the next. Most farms require overnight shipping for obvious reasons, so buy as local as possible to keep the FedEx bill (and your carbon footprint) down.
Oyster whisperer Julie Qiu of inahalfshell.com gave us six of her favorite oyster sources from both coasts.
Fishers Island Oysters; Block Island Sound, NY
“You can’t get any fresher when you live in NYC,” says Qiu, which is why Fishers Island supplies some of the city’s best restaurants. She loves the farm’s oysters for their crisp brininess, and for their message, aptly summed up in their hashtag motto #farmwithoutharm.
Pemaquid Oyster Company; Damariscotta, Maine
Some of Qiu’s favorite oysters in the world come from cold waters of coastal Maine. “Pemaquids are lovely, well rounded oysters,” she says.
Island Creek Oysters; Duxbury, MA
Island Creek is a large oyster company, but one that does things right. Customer service and packaging are excellent.
Hama Hama; Lilliwaup, WA
Between their crisp and clean namesake oyster, their full-bodied Blue Pool and their rich and sweet Sea Cow, Hama Hama offers a terrific mix of flavors, textures, and sizes.
Hog Island Oyster Co.; Marshall, CA
Try their Hog Island Sweetwater, described by Qiu as “a quintessential Pacific oyster.” They offer very special holiday packs around Christmas, if you can wait that long.
Taylor Shellfish Farms; Shelton, WA
Taylor is the largest oyster producer in the Pacific Northwest, and they consistently deliver quality mollusks. Kumamoto lovers, take note Qiu thinks theirs are the best.