Hog Island oysters taste amazing because of the water in which they grow and the farming techniques that we use. The health and cleanliness of the water in which they live is essential, and the cool waters of Tomales Bay give our oysters an incredible flavor.
We produce our own oyster seed or purchase it from trusted Pacific Coast hatcheries who, like us, nurture single oyster spats onto fragments of shell and grow them to about the size of a grain of granola. The seed is placed in mesh cylinders called Stanways.
The Stanways are then floated out in the bay so that the tides can deliver nutrient rich algae to them and gently roll them around just enough to set in motion the foundations for the thick, deep and fluted shape of their shells.
Once they’re about three quarters of an inch long our oysters graduate to mesh bags which are placed on racks in an intertidal area of the bay. This is a classic French technique which lifts the oysters out of the mud and puts them in the best possible place to feast on all of the phytoplankton floating past.
Depending on the variety they’ll spend anything from one to two years here, filtering up to fifty gallons of seawater per day through their partially opened shells.
Our farm crews harvest oysters by hand, sorting them for size and quality and taking only those that make the cut. It’s a labor-intensive process, but one that ensures that we take only the best oysters to market. We then treat the oysters to a few days in our special “oyster spa”.
We have used our backgrounds as marine biologists to develop a special saltwater storage system that filters and chills water from the bay before it reaches the oyster storage tanks. Resting time in the tanks ensures consistently fresh, clean, premium quality oysters that retain the beautiful flavor of their home waters.