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Eld Inlet & Pickering
Passage Oysters
gourmet articlesarchiveeld inlet & pickering passage oysters
Eld Inlet Oyster - (Crassostrea gigas) October - June
Eld Inlet is located in southern Puget Sound, Washington. It is right next to Totten and Skookum Inlets, and as such has some similarities with those two types of oysters. Southern Puget Sound is noted for its high nutrient levels, and the oysters that grow there reflect that. Their meats tend to be plump with glycogen, yet firm, and consequently very sweet. These Eld Inlet oysters have a crisp briny flavor that is followed by a watermelon rind-like aftertaste. This farm grows their oysters in upper Eld Inlet, near its headwaters. They are cultured in bags on the beach, a method that provides a very presentable fluted shell with a deep cup that is almost always barnacle free. They grow quickly this way as well, reaching market size in a little over a year.

Pickering Passage Oyster- (Crassostrea gigas) October - June

Pickering Passage is the body of water in southern Puget Sound, Washington that flows past the mouths of Hammersley, Totten, and Eld Inlets. It is a nutrient rich area-producing oysters that grow very quickly and that tend to have very plump, full meats. They are cultured in the traditional rack and bag method pioneered by the French and reach market size in about 12 to 18 months. Their fast growout time results in oysters with attractive shells, ones that are tinted with browns, tans, purples, and whites, rather than the bleached out, gray looking shells of some beach-grown oysters. Their flavor begins with a mild saltiness, followed by what’s generally a full sweetness, and finishing with the fruity aftertaste reminiscent of green apples.

Bill Marinelli is known throughout Asia as the “Oyster King”. A Marine biologist turned fish monger, he has been distributing live shellfish and fresh fish around the USA and Asia since 1982.

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