Swinomish Oysters Flavor Profile

Swinomish OystersSee image licensing info

Swinomish oysters are a new Pacific Oyster variety, or perhaps better stated, a returning variety, from Similk Bay in the Northern Puget Sound area of Washington State. The Swinomish tribe originally raised oysters from 1935 to 1969 on the tidelands of Padilla and Skagit bays.

They are rack & bag (also called bottom tray) cultivated in racks staked near the bottom of the bay. This method of cultivation keeps the oysters free of mud because they are raised off the floor of the bay. It also produces shells which are beautifully fluted but somewhat brittle.

I found that the Swinomish oysters had a mixed bag of shell conditions, with some oysters having beautifully fluted edges, while others had been tossed around and had all the ruffles of the edge broken off. This doesn’t impact the flavor, but the presentation on the half shell is inconsistent.

These oysters have varying sized cups with and fluted shells. They have clean, sweet meats with a mild brininess and finish with hints of cantaloupe. They are available for wholesale purchase to restaurants at Penn Cove Shellfish, but I’m not sure if they are available for retail purchase to private individuals.

Swinomish Oyster
LocationSimilk Bay, North Puget Sound. WA
SpeciesPacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas)
Oyster Availability
Sizeup to 3″
Oyster CultivationRack & Bag or Bottom Tray cultivated
Oyster Flavor ProfileSwinomish oysters have varying sized cups with and fluted shells. They have clean, sweet meats with a mild brininess and finish with hints of cantaloupe.

 

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