The Pacific Oyster
Most oysters grown in the Pacific Northwest are Pacific Oysters. In the 21st Century, Washington state harvests 98% of these oysters, and they come a lot of different ways. Some Pacific Oysters are petite in size, while others are quite portly. Some can be harsh, while others have sweet tastes. In April 1919, the Pacific Oyster came from a steamship leaving Yokohama in Japan. From its humble beginnings, it was called the “Japanese Oyster.”
Around the 1850s, many people came west during the Gold Rush. Some did not find gold but instead found a native oyster called “The Olympia.” With people making bank from the Gold Rush, you can bet they were hungry. So, they paid massive amounts of money to get their hands on these oysters. Its distinct coppery flavor sets this oyster apart.
One of the first restaurant documentations of “The Kumamoto” was at a fish house in Tacoma, Washington, by a review writer named Alf Collins. The review was not pretty, but the oyster has redeemed itself over the years after it was said to be the oyster without any juices. Today, this oyster is eaten straight from the shell and raw. Many people add it to stews and soups. These oysters showed up in 1947 from a Japanese source when World War II ended.
The Pacific Northwest needed an alternate for the Olympias in the 1890s. The Olympias got over-harvested, and people needed new oysters to keep the oysters vibrant for a booming business. A family by the name of Taylor brought in Virginica oysters by train from the East Cost. For starters, they had harvesting locations in Washington. The family has kept it going a century later in places like Hawaii, California, British Columbia, and Quilcene. One of the best oyster-eating experiences comes by eating a Virginica with hot sauce, lemon wedges, and some beer.
The European Flat
The European Flat, or Belon, originally could be found in France and England. But, in the 1950s, European Flat oysters came to the United States of America. The taste people get from the Belon oysters are a metallic flavor, but the buttery softening does wonders for this oyster.