Half Shell Oyster Varieties

In North America there are at least 150 varieties of fresh oysters available for chefs to choose from for their menus. Yet all of these choices come from only 5 types of oysters: Kumamoto, Pacific oyster, Atlantic (Eastern) oyster, Olympia, and European Flats are the 5 species of oyster available in North America. It is from these 5 species that all the varieties spawn from.

Oyster flavor profiles have advanced to the point of being akin to wine tasting. Connoisseurs discuss the salinity & complexity of the oyster, the finish, the hints of melon or cucumber. Other common tastes found in oysters include seaweed, mineral, iron, copper, sweet, vegetal, lettuce, umami and mushroom. It can be rather daunting to remember it all. Below you will find our index to over 70 West Coast oyster varieties and 60 East Coast oyster varieties, as well as maps to oyster appellations. Each oyster profile includes flavor characteristics, oyster descriptions and seasonal availability.

Check-out the link for information on oyster cultivation methods and their effects upon oyster flavor profiles. Or see oyster farming for more detailed information about oyster aquaculture. Also, see shellfish storage for the best way to hold your shellfish. And our link to oyster shucking styles has descriptions and video of how to shuck oysters.

Oysters Index by Region

Current Fresh Oyster Availability

A 4th Generation Oyster Fisherman, and Family Ties to Oyster Industry


Comments from before Site Migration

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CARL    [ May 31, 2015 ]

I’ve have been Shucking a variety of Oysters each one has a different shucking Technique according to the Shell, some have hooks like the Shigoku and some are very brittle like the Fanny Bay, it’s really important the pressure applied to preserve the Beauty of the oyster.

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Apr 08, 2015 ]

AKERSEY – excellent link w/ great info about Gulf Oysters…thanks!

CLARK []    [ Nov 13, 2014  ]

Why no mention of Gulf oysters??

MATT ASEN. PRAWNBROKER REST. GROUP []    [ Oct 20, 2014  ]

Nice article about oysters! I have eaten and collected the shells of over 550 different oysters from 13 different countries. 18 states and 4 Canadian provinces. This includes C. Virginica. C. gigas, C. sikamea, O. edulis, O. conchaphila and C. ariakensis (from Malaysia). If you would like me to share the list with you, let me know. I also have 14 24×30 display cases filled with over 300 shells.

MIKE []    [ May 20, 2014  ]

Here in Southern California we often get Blue Point Oysters (y wife’s favorite so far) but these are not listed here and I was wondering if you had any information on them.

Thank you as this seems to be a wonderful site packed with awesome information.

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ May 20, 2014  ]

Hello Mike – the listing for Blue Points is in a different section which unfortunately can be harder to find.  Here is the link, and to the left of that page you’ll see the East Coast oysters list

MDR []    [ Mar 25, 2014  ]

looking for the characteristics of a Baja oyster(san quitin) or jailhouse

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Jan 20, 2014  ]

Thank-you Jennifer! Part of the goal of the site is to provide waitstaff w/ the info about oysters and fish which they need in order to be well informed and to make the pitch to their guests. You have a nice site as well. I like the idea of the server quizzes which you created.

IAMWAITRESS []    [ Jan 19, 2014  ]

I am absolutely impressed with the effort you put into this list!  Bravo to you and your website.  Thanks for your time and education in helping to educate us.

Jennifer, iamWaitress.com

LYNDON COX []    [ Sep 06, 2012  ]
I noticed that you left out two Oregon bays that produce quality oyster from your list. Umpqua Aquaculture produces their famous “Triangle Oysters” at Winchester Bay and Clausen Oysters farms their “Silver Point” at the North Bend of Coos Bay. Qualman’s Oyster Farm is also located in Coos Bay. If you have questions or need further information, please contact me via my email address. Thank you, Lyndon Cox
DAVID BUCHANAN    [ May 22, 2012  ]

Steve, I do intend to add the gulf state oysters!  If you have a list of some of your favorites post them here.

STEVE FRITH []    [ May 22, 2012  ]

I like the site sand was looking at the oyster regions.  Seems you have the entire US covered except the Gulf Coast!  We eat oyster here year round and I was extremely suprised to see this area of the country was left out.

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ May 19, 2010  ]

David, thank-you for the information!  Snow Hills Oysters have been added.

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