Food Field Trip from San Francisco: Tomales Bay Oyster Company


[Photographs: Wes Rowe]

I've long sighed in envy when friends in California describe their weekend plans. "We're going camping in Marin." "I'm having an early night because I'm going surfing in Pacifica tomorrow morning." "We're not sure, but we're thinking a little Sonoma wine tasting?"

But when Lauren proposed a Sunday field trip outside San Francisco when I was visiting last week, I wasn't sure I'd heard her correctly. "After we get burgers at Marin Sun Farms, why don't we just go up to Tomales Bay, bring some beer, do some oyster shucking?"

Oyster shucking? "Yeah, it's just an hour drive or so once you're over the bridge. Tomales Bay Oyster Co. has a little setup, a bunch of picnic tables right on the water. You bring a cooler of beer, buy a huge bag of oysters, rent a knife if you need it, and just hang out and eat..."

Cheap oysters, BYO beverages, beach setup, water views? I can't imagine anything much more idyllic. So here, a look at one of the cheaper, more fun ways I know to knock back a few dozen oysters.


Drive up Highway 1 to Tomales Bay Oyster Company


Find the oyster-seller under the tent.


Choose your prey. (I'm a big fan of the smaller Golden Nuggets.) Rent a knife, if you need one. Pick up lemons and hot sauce, if you didn't bring 'em.


Ice them down as you're shucking.


Oysters, beer, lemons, knives: good to go.*

* And iPhones Instagramming. We see you.


Get your shuck on. Depending on the amount of beer you've brought and the general coordination of your party members, you may need a designated shucker.




It's an open picnic area, so you're not confined to straight shucking if you want. Barbecue away, if that's your thing!


And enjoy.

Tomales Bay Oyster Farm

15479 Highway 1, Marshall CA 94940 (map)

About the author: Carey Jones is the Senior Managing Editor of Serious Eats. Follow her on Twitter (@careyjones).

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