Rise and shine! We woke up pretty early to make the trek out to the farthest part of California that sticks out into the Pacific Ocean. The windy, narrow roads were very reminiscent of the wilderness leading up to Camp River Glen, the site of Unicamp where we volunteered as undergrads at UCLA. A good 15 minutes into Inverness, California, we noticed a heavy fog blanketing the surrounding forest. The air smelled more and more of salt as we approached Drake’s Bay. It was very serene at 8am, way before any other visitors made their way out there. It was difficult to navigate by GPS because of the trees and abrupt end to the road we were traveling on but we made it!
Once over the hill, there seemed just to be a few flimsy shacks huddled together. “This was it?” we thought at first. Little did we know the reasoning behind why the buildings were in such disrepair until we met Ginny but we’ll get to this later. We pulled up to a marginally sturdier shed that served as the storefront for the small oyster company.
Once we stepped inside, we were greeted by a genial Ginny who commented about us being birds of an early nature. Our attention diverted to the various posters and displays of oysters decorating the walls. Most importantly, we noticed that there was an adequate amount of oysters for us to try, the lack of which was an irrational fear when one is going to an oyster farm.
After a self-guided tour of the farm, which we realized consisted heavily of weathered shacks and makeshift equipment, we were able to finally try the oysters. Ginny was kind enough to teach us how to shuck the oysters, hinge-first and separate the adductor muscle to loosen the oyster. We were also lucky enough to snag a Drake’s Bay Oyster Company oyster knife to help us in our endeavor of 12 smalls and 3 mediums. The few large oysters available were about the size of my face, literally. We spent a good hour shucking and eating the oysters before we headed out. The oysters were super fresh and succulent. Alice liked the smalls as they were brinier and more “ocean” tasting, while I preferred the buttery flavor and texture of the mediums. This was a great high-protein indulgence for our first meal of the day!
As food bloggers, we try to shed light on the food we consume. Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm is no different from any other producer but it just happened they are facing a very difficult time brought upon by investigations conducted by the National Park Service. The National Park Service claims that the operations of the oyster farm causes disturbances to the wildlife and ecosystem which they apparently have scientific evidence to back that claim. We have done our fair share of homework into this matter and we must say that we support Drake’s Bay Oyster Company in preserving and maintaining their operations as it does not seem to do any harm to the surround ecosystem. An independent research study found that the research done by the National Park Service was a stretch and could not prove a causal link between, specifically, oyster farming and harbor seals among other disturbances to wildlife. The battle between the NPS and Drake’s Bay Oyster Company has been well covered in the media in the past year.
Drake’s Bay Oyster Company invites everyone to visit and see for themselves the transparency in which they run their operations and business. We think it’s quite a shame that the livelihood of the family that owns Drake’s Bay Oyster Company, the many workers, and the surrounding communities who enjoy the oysters produced here are under attack by the National Park Service based in inconclusive and manipulated scientific data. For the time being, Drake’s Bay Oyster Company is currently closed pending an unrelated investigation and may close permanently as early as December 2012 depending on the decisions made by the U.S. Department of the Interior. We hope you, our readers, will have the opportunity to pay them a visit before it’s too late.
Check out Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm: drakesbayoyster.com
17171 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Inverness, CA 94937
See their Yelp reviews here!