Willapa Bay and Oregon

Yaquina Bay

Deep-cupped, sweet, and melony, this is a Pacific masquerading as a Kumamoto. The thin shell and mild flavor clearly mark this oyster as a product of suspension culture. The Wachsmuth family, who founded Dan & Louis Oyster Bar in Portland in 1907, later founded the Oregon Oyster Company in Yaquina Bay to ensure a supply of oysters for their restaurant. But the history of oystering in Yaquina Bay is even older than them. Yaquina was the next bay up from San Francisco with a sizable supply of Olympias, as reported by a stranded boat captain who discovered them in 1852. But the size of the estuary was minuscule compared to the big bays, and, in terms of slowing down the hunt for new oyster supplies, it proved little more than a speed bump on the way to Willapa Bay in Washington State. The Olys were cleaned out almost immediately, and the industry foundered until being picked up by the Pacific oyster in the 1920s.

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