Northern Puget Sound

Westcott Bay

Westcott Bay became famous in the 1980s for their European Flats—the first commercially produced in America. Though the Flats now play a smaller role than the Westcott Bay Petites, they are still the Flat you are most likely to encounter. They are also the easiest to confront: because of the growing techniques and the nature of Westcott Bay, out in pristine San Juan Island, they have a milder flavor than any other American Flat—more in keeping with the French Flats they are modeled on. You still get the copper at the back corners of your tongue, but not the full burst of nutty caviar you get with some Flats. The small, round shell is almost uniformly white, just flecks of pink coloring it, and the meat is pale with a distinctive orange tinge to the mantle.

Today, Westcott Bay concentrates on its Pacific oyster, known as a Petite. It is delicacy itself: fine, filigreed shells, three-inch size, sweet, mild meat that is just salty enough to keep things interesting. Westcott Bays are the original astronaut oysters, floating all their lives high above the bottom, so they never touch mud or grit of any kind, never develop significant (read: chewy) muscles, and maintain a particularly light flavor and creamy texture that many appreciate.

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