The Drayton Harbor Oyster Co. formerly the Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm represents a pioneering, multi-dimensional effort to restore clean water and shellfish harvesting in Drayton Harbor. Launched in 2001, the project planted oyster seed with community volunteers in waters that were prohibited to all shellfish harvest due to chronic bacterial contamination. In order to harvest oysters from this historic and productive shellfish growing area, the community would need to tackle pollution sources and achieve measurable water quality improvements in three years time.
In June 2004, as a direct result of PSRF’s intensive community-based effort to reduce pollution, 575 acres were conditionally re-opened to shellfish harvest and the community feasted on Drayton Harbor oysters for the first time in ten years. Since then, these same community-grown oysters have become a favorite attraction at selected grocers, local restaurants, and at the Blaine Marina, where residents pick up fresh oysters and enjoy a little taste of heaven – locally produced.
Oyster harvesting in Drayton Harbor is now seasonally closed from November 1 through the end of February. This is the wet season when occasionally polluted runoff from the Drayton Harbor watershed can make it unsafe to eat oysters and other shellfish from the harbor. The current Drayton Harbor CSA (Community Supported Aquaculture) project operates from March through early June when marine waters are healthy and oysters are safe to eat. The CSA is supported by resident shareholders, restaurants and retailers who purchase our oysters, and the Puget Sound Restoration Fund. Collectively, we are keeping oyster farming alive in Drayton Harbor. This allows a growing number of people to enjoy the taste and nutrition of Drayton Harbor Pacific oysters. There is a long history of oyster production here and we don’t want to stand by and watch it vanish like it has in many other places. It is too important an asset to squander.
Read Foodie Underground: The Wide and Wonderful World of Oysters, an article that appeared in Ecosalon on March 12.