This summer we stayed at our cousin's lovely home on Bainbridge Island. Her home is right on the shoreline of the Puget Sound. While we were there, a few zero tides occurred, so we could harvest some of their oysters.
This is what the bags looked like when the tide went out. Most of the oyster seeds now were between one and two years old, perfect to eat.
In 2006, nine shoreline dwellers from Bainbridge Island teamed up with Puget Sound Restoration Fund and began "gardening" on their tide-lands. Currently, more than 120 families have planted shellfish gardens around the island. They start with seed oysters, mesh bags and ropes. The seed oysters are zip-tied in to their bags and the bags are adjoined along a stout rope. Our cousin and their friends secured the rope on to the ground with re-bar and topped it all with a large rock. This prevents the bags from being lost during violent winter storms.
You take out as many oysters as you need and save them in sea water until you can cook them. After getting your beauties out of the mesh bags, then, you re-zip them so they can live in the rich sea until they've matured. It reminded me of lettuce when you cut the big leaves and return later to get baby leaves that have matured.
During periods of zero or low tides, you can harvest oysters for several days in a row. People plan parties around these times!
Pretty nice looking oysters!!! We were unsure about shucking, so we grilled the oysters until they opened enough to leave them on one side of the shell with butter & hot sauce, then finish the quick cooking.
I mainly ate the local greens and a poached egg, since I am a vegetarian. But, I tried the oysters and with buttery crumbs and hot sauce and they were good! Husband did his usual burning of hot dogs to add to the gourmet feel of the dinner!