Drake’s Bay

Drake’s Estero is a shallow blue bowtie nestled into Northern California’s Point Reyes National Seashore. The oyster farm, which was operated by special arrangement with the National Park Service, was the historic Johnson Oyster Company from 1957 until 2005, when it was bought by the Lunny family of organic beef fame. The Lunnys graze their cattle on the dry, windswept grasslands of Point Reyes; they treated their oysters with equal care. The oysters, which won a national competition for Most Beautiful Pacific Oyster, were tender and delicate, quite briny, as you’d expect from an area that sees virtually no rain, and sweet with a touch of bitter herb. They benefited enormously from the backing mountains and the surrounding, 71,000-acre National Seashore, which walled them off from all population sources, oriented them toward the empty Pacific, and provided impeccable water quality. Alas, in late 2012 the lease expired and the Park Service quashed  the oyster farm, despite vehement protest from anyone who had a clue. What could have been a shining example of people and nature working together to produce sustainable food is now just another park. Drake’s Bay, R.I.P.

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