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Shigoku Oysters are a new oyster released in 2009, created by Taylor Shellfish Company’s Justine Taylor. They are a Pacific Northwest oyster cultivated in the Willapa Bay and Samish Bay oyster appellations in Washington State using a specialized suspension tray method which involves tumbling. It was released to some of Seattle’s best restaurants and was instantly met with huge fan fare and applauded throughout the Seattle area.
Shigoku oysters have a briny bite, a clean, sweet flavor with a hint of cucumber and melon finish.
Taylor Shellfish created a specialized, low-energy version of the suspension tray and tumbling system which Kusshi oysters are known for. Taylor’s method involves a stationary line of suspension trays which are attached to floats in such a manner that as the tides eb and flow the tray is naturally raised and lowered causing the oysters to be tumbled. Thus, Shigoku oysters are tumbled twice a day, which chips the edges of the shells giving them a uniquely smooth, “clean” edge and deep cups.
The tumbling also helps to give more firmness to the meats. Normal suspension tray cultivated oysters have very little “chew” to them because the oyster just sits there and does nothing. But a tumbled oyster has to work a little to protect itself during tumbling to keep its shell closed tight.
Most Pacific Oysters take two years to reach market size, but the Shigokus grow more quickly due to the tidal tumbling method and reach market in less time. However, production is still limited so availability is also limited. Currently, they have a limit of 10 dozen per week per restaurant while supplies last.
Shigoku means “ultimate” in Japanese, and to highlight their uniqueness, Taylor ships them in a custom wooden box which has the Japanese “Shigoku” character imprinted on it.
See proper shellfish storage methods for the best way to maintain the shelf life and flavor of your oysters. Also, check-out our list of where to buy raw oysters.
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