Olympia Oysters

When I was a child I would on occasion accompany my father to his shop in downtown Baltimore. He paid me the princely sum of $.06 and hour to clean until the salesman unionized on my behalf and negotiated a raise to $.25 an hour. My father would take me to Lexington Market where for lunch where I would spend my hard earned money on fresh oysters with cocktail sauce.

I have moved away from my childhood home, and yet this is a tradition that lives fresh in my memory. In Washington State you can get Olympia Oysters which are smaller than many of the jumbo oysters farmed today but are native o the Puget Sound. They remind me of the ones from the Chesapeake Bay I enjoyed with my father when I was a boy.


  • 6 Fresh Oysters (per person), raw
  • Dollops of cocktail sauce
  • Beer (provided you are of the appropriate 21 or over pay grade)


  • Shucking Knife
  • Glove


  1. Hold oyster firmly in one hand. Slip the knife in between the two halves of the shell at one end.
  2. Pull knife across clear to the other end.
  3. Now with a twisting motion pry the two halves of the shell apart. Be careful not to spill the precious liquor inside.
  4. Cut the oyster free from the knob underneath that holds it the shell.
  5. Add a dollop of cocktail sauce and scoop the oyster, sauce and liquor into your mouth.
  6. Savor and enjoy.

What you should know

Te Olympia Oyster is the native oyster to the Puget Sound and was almost driven out of existence first by pollution from emerging industry and then by the import of Japanese oysters which are larger. Go to the Slow Foods Arc of Taste for more.

Re: Olympia Oysters