Spoiler alert: All you will eat the entire evening is oysters.
- Easy to get
- No charger
- Left handed use only
- Supports only Apple products
- Low storage
Oysters, come and walk with us!’
The Walrus did beseech.
A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.’”
Our guide reads Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” as we rattle along the highway in the dark. Already one drink and a couple of appetizers into our evening, we sit on a school bus headed south of Seattle toward Totten Inlet to enjoy an evening of oysters and wine on the beach.
Upon arriving at the beach, we are given gloves and tools for shucking oysters, and we are sent off to forage our own food. Luckily, there were already oysters grilling, so we didn’t have to work too hard for our meal.
A picnic in the middle of the winter after dark may seem like a crazy idea but The Walrus and the Carpenter Charity Picnic organized by Taylor Shellfish Farms and benefitting the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, is a gorgeous event. I learned a lot about the local ecosystem, the efforts being made to protect it, and I got to eat a lot of oysters, and drink wine! How could the night have been better?
Tickets for the event are $150 a piece. Considering the wine, grilled oysters, transportation, oyster stew, and that it’s a fundraiser, it’s a pretty good deal.
Unfortunately, the appetizers at Taylor Shellfish were unimpressive so I didn’t eat them, and you do have to pay extra for a drink at Taylor Shellfish before getting on the bus. The appetizers were the only food without oysters the entire evening, and by the end of the night, I wished I had more in my stomach. However, if you’re into unlimited oyster-themed food and bottomless glasses of vino, you’d have been happily satiated the entire event.
What could be a dull and long ride from Taylor Shellfish in Queen Anne to Taylor Farms Totten Inlet oyster bed (where the event is hosted) is turned into an opportunity to learn about the conservation efforts along the Puget Sound. Our guides were knowledgeable and passionate, particularly about oysters, and their presentation made the hour-long ride fly by.
The Mission of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund is to “work collaboratively to restore marine habitat, water quality, and native species in Puget Sound through tangible, on-the-ground projects.” Beyond learning about their current projects, we learned that 85 percent of oyster reefs have been lost worldwide, making shellfish reefs “the most imperiled marine habitat on earth.” I also learned an incredible amount about native oyster species (if I remember well, these have been farmed out) versus introduced species in the area (the predominate one now; don’t quote me, but I think the Japanese variety is the strongest?). I was listening mostly, however trying to recollect all of the details now seems slightly impossible. I’ll blame the wine.
You would think that these facts about oysters would make you feel guilty for eating so many in one night, however, they ease this guilt by beautifully explaining sustainable farming practices. For example, in areas where structure-limited habitat prevents oyster bed development, conservationists spread Pacific oyster shell to provide a settlement structure that enables oyster larvae to naturally re-colonize historic ground.
All the feels: Good
I’m going to be honest with you that this score is VERY weather-dependent, and we were lucky enough to have an evening without rain for the event. The full moon even peeked her head out from over the clouds (#thankyounature). Although it was still a cold night, the combination of fluffy down coats, hats, oyster stew and wine in our bellies kept us warm and happy.
When we arrived the beach, there were bonfires that lit up the beach and simultaneously kept us toasty. The light of the fires flickered off the water of the Puget Sound, and the moon lit up the sky. Pretty dreamy, am I right? As we huddled around the fire drinking wine and snacking on grilled oysters, we had the chance to mingle and chat with fellow picnickers about our new found knowledge of conservation in the Pacific Northwest. We ended the night with warm, delicious bowls of fresh oyster stew (and because we had a designated bus driver) yes, more wine! Not surprisingly, I slept on the bus ride home…