Hood Canal and Southern Puget Sound

Totten Inlet

The two most famous appellations in south Puget Sound are Totten Inlet and Little Skookum Inlet, and since Little Skookum is actually a tributary of Totten, the two often are thought of interchangeably. Both have seriously algae-thick waters, leading to market-sized oysters in a year or less. But differences exist. While Little Skookum is basically a creek bed that fills at high tide, Totten is ninety feet deep in places and much more a creature of the sea. It produces oysters with the rich seaweedy flavor South Sound is famous for, but a bit saltier and less earthy than Little Skookum. Little Skookum oysters get first crack at the intense brown and green mudflat algae that develop at the head of Little Skookum, while Totten oysters get a mix of those mudflat algae and ones that grow in deeper water. Many believe the resulting oyster to be the perfect combination of flavors—strong, but still sea.

Taylor Shellfish also grows an Eastern oyster in Totten Inlet. With the incomparable springy texture of an Eastern oyster and the ripeness imparted by Totten Inlet, the Totten Virginicas is a great oyster, and demand regularly outpaces supply. Worth seeking out.

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