Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Hood Canal Oyster Adventure
Tom, my oyster aficionado boyfriend, came up to visit last weekend, so I thought I could show him some "real" oysters on the Hood Canal. We began our fun drive in Belfair and then around the South Shore, all the way around to Quilcene and then back across the Hood Canal Bridge at Shine. For local (and not so local!) Sunday drive fans, this is just a great stretch of curvy road! There are plenty of parks to stop at, interesting beaches to explore, a few wineries, and farm fresh products to buy. Not to mention the views of the Olympic Mountains to the West and the absolutely gorgeous homes to drool over and dream about. Hmmmm.... one day maybe?
First Stop Twanoh State Park: If you haven't ever stopped here, you are missing a little jewel! The park was created by the CCC in the 1930's, most of the building are still used today - built of native logs and sturdy bricks. The beach is covered in oysters and little manilla clams, all can be yours with a shellfish license, a bucket and a little grunt work. Oysters have to be shucked on the beach, leaving the shells for future oysters to grow. Although it was a little cold and gray as we strolled out to the beach, we didn't mind. Tom was amazed at the oysters just lying on the beach waiting to be shucked and taken home!
Second Stop: Hunter Farms just past Union on the way to Potlatch. Great farmstand! We were hoping to find some fresh oysters in the shell to buy, since we couldn't take any off of the beach. No such luck here, but bought incredibly yummy local ice cream - french apple pie and pecan/caramel swirl. In my opinion, some of the best ice cream I have ever eaten! Lots of fresh corn on the cob, local squash, tomatoes and fruit.
Hoodsport Winery in Hoodsport This winery has been producing wine on the Hood Canal for over 30 years! What I think sets this winery apart is that they produce wines that are made of other fruits, more than just grapes. Blackberry, Raspberry, Apple, Pear.. Their most popular selling wine is Raspberry, the #2 seller is Rhubarb. Tom and I were the only ones in the tasting room that afternoon - what fun! We each got 6 tastings, please don't worry, they were small and we were still full of ice cream.
Fourth Stop: Hama Hama Oyster Company! This was pretty cool! You can buy smoked salmon, shucked oysters, seafood salad, but best of all you can pick out your own fresh oysters (still in the shell) from their hand selected buckets. We learned so much about cooking oysters that afternoon from the extremely helpful gal in their store!
Have to admit that I was really, really trying to psych myself up to eat bbq'd oysters. Tom was so excited about trying to cook them, and I didn't want to disappoint him, but just in case I picked out a bunch of manilla clams for me. Love the colors on the shells, and boy did they taste terrific steamed in a little white wine, sweet walla-wallas and garlic. yum!
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