Locating Luscious Local Oysters from Taylor Shellfish

taylor shellfish


By Katie Hurley

taylor shellfish store
Margaret Sanate has logged 28 years with Taylor Shellfish Farm. The Shelton store manager is a wealth of information to create the perfect shellfish feast.

For many of us in the Pacific Northwest, oysters are an integral party of holiday food traditions. Whether its oyster stew on a cold winter night, an oyster cocktail with tangy sauce, oysters on the half shell or oyster stuffing in the turkey, Taylor Shellfish Farms’ Seafood Market can help you select fresh oysters that will be the star of your holiday meal.

Store Manager Margaret Sanate has been with Taylor Shellfish Farms for over 28 years, first working in the back room packing oysters, then shucking and shipping oysters, and for the past 16 years in the retail shop. “It is a family company, and they are nice people to work for.  It seems like yesterday.  I must like my job,” said Sanate with a smile.

Sanate’s experience is a great benefit to customers who want help selecting oysters or other seafood. In addition to the five varieties of fresh oysters available in the store, you’ll find smoked oysters, smoked salmon, live clams and mussels. Also available are frozen razor clams, geoduck, crab, scallops, shrimp, cod and sea bass.

According to Sanate, shucked oysters are their best seller during the holiday season. Available in various species and sizes, shucked oysters are easy to prepare in a variety of ways. A tray of oyster cocktails in martini glasses or punch glasses makes a delicious and beautiful appetizer. One pint of oysters makes 5-6 appetizer cocktails.

My family’s Christmas Eve tradition is to begin the evening with a cocktail of tiny, sweet, succulent Olympia oysters topped with a spicy cocktail sauce made with ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire and lemon juice. Today I brought home shucked Kumamoto oysters and we enjoyed oyster cocktails with guests visiting from California.

Taylor Shellfish Farms’ Plant Manager Austin Docter recommends tasting a variety of raw oysters on the half shell to understand the differences in size and flavor between the species. Serve them on a bed of crushed ice, keeping the oysters cold and the shell level so the oyster can hold its nectar in the shell. Garnished with a lemon or some cocktail sauce, or without any garnish at all, a platter of oysters on the half shell is a special treat for a holiday celebration. Mignonette sauce can add a tart and tangy flavor to oysters on the half shell.

This time of year, a rich and creamy oyster stew makes an excellent first course but also makes a great, hearty dinner when paired with crusty bread and a green salad. Xinh Dwelley’s famous oyster stew is simple and delicious and comes together in just a few minutes. Many other oyster recipes, including a few more from Xinh’s restaurant in Shelton, are available on Taylor Shellfish Farms’ website.

taylor shellfishTaylor Shellfish mussels and specialty oysters are also available at Olympia Seafood.  “We like working with them because of their superior local product,” says Kira DeRito, who owns Olympia Seafood with her husband Tony. “We think they are a great company and their people are wonderful.”

Olympia Seafood sells Taylor Shellfish Farms’ mussels and specialty oysters such as Kumamoto and Shigoku.

When you plan to celebrate a special occasion with oysters and would like to serve wine that complements the oysters, check out the list of 2013 Oyster Award winners for the list of wines that pair perfectly with local oysters.

Oysters make a unique gift, and Taylor Shellfish Seafood Market can ship live or smoked oysters and other seafood to your friends and family throughout the United States. Gift certificates are also available.

For Christmas, New Year’s Eve or an everyday dinner, it’s worth the trip to Taylor Shellfish Farms Seafood Market at 130 SE Lynch Road in Shelton, just off Highway 101. The market is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.


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