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FRESH PRESS THE LATEST FROM THE RANCH AND BEYOND.

For the Oyster Lovers: 7 Spots to Slurp

If you don't love life, you can't enjoy an oyster; there's a shock of freshness to it and intimations of the ages of man, some piercing intuition of the sea and all its weeds and breezes; [they] shiver you for a split second.

- Eleanor Clark The Oysters of Locmariaquer


As grape and olive growers, much of our conversations center around meals. We share new restaurants or chefs we discovered over the weekend, swap notes on where to get the best (insert any dish) in town and have certainly debated the pros and cons of every cheese monger, bakery, butcher, cafe and farm stand within a 60 mile radius of the ranch.

photo by Erik Roush photo by Erik Roush

This time of year as the weather gets more crisp and clear by the day, we're talking oysters and the how's, where's and when's of consuming them tout de suite. What we're not discussing is what we're pairing them with because that's a given. Like terroir, the nuanced flavor of an oyster reflects it's meroir, or the aquaculture of the waters from which they're grown. To enjoy these distinctions and savor the creamy, briny, salty or sweet notes of these delicacies, we prefer a crisp, dry wine with nice acidity like our 2015 Rosebud Rosé.

Fresh oysters on the half shell and a bottle of chilled 2015 Rosebud is one of our favorite local pairings. Fresh oysters and a bottle of chilled 2015 Rosebud at Hog Island Oyster Farm on Tomales Bay.

Next time you're craving oysters, here's a list of our favorite local spots to indulge:

Hog Island Oyster Company, 20215 State Route 1, Marshall, CA

A trip to Hog Island's oyster farm is always an event to remember. Reserve a table online to host a shuck-your-own picnic just steps from the water. Or belly up to their Boat Oyster bar where you can buy raw or BBQ oysters, fresh bread, cheese and local libations.

Protip - if you can't get a reservation and the Oyster Boat Bar is too busy, buy fresh shellfish to-go. Find our Cilantro-Jalapeno Mignonette recipe here.

The Shuckery, 100 Washington Street, Petaluma, CA

From the popular catering duo, The Oyster Girls, The Shuckery is Petaluma's newest raw bar and seafood restaurant. Featuring a mouthwatering menu of fresh, local produce, cheeses, wines and beers. It's as charming as it is delicious, fast becoming the pearl of downtown Petaluma.

Fresh oysters on the half-shell. Photo credit - The Shuckery, Petaluma Fresh oysters on the half-shell.
Photo credit - The Shuckery, Petaluma

The Marshall Store, 19225 State Route 1, Marshall, CA

At this popular roadside spot, choose from a hearty selection of baked Tomales Bay oysters including Kilpatrick, Rockefellar and BBQ, along with smoked meats and seafood from the smokehouse, before tucking into the long wooden bar lining the water's edge for a truly bay-to-belly experience.

Oysters Rockefeller - 14415 Hwy 1, Valley Ford, CA

This cozy locals spot in Valley Ford is a mash up of the famous hot, buttery oyster dish (said to be as rich as a Rockefeller and the color of money from the green herbs) created in 1899 at Antoine's New Orleans kitchen. Oysters Rockefeller are just one of the many options on their oyster menu.

Osteria Stellina11285 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, CA

A culinary destination since their 2009 NY Times review, Osteria Stellina has maintained their devotion to the bounty of west Marin from the start. Offering local oysters between 2:30 and 4:30 pm every day, you can pop in without a reservation or plan ahead to try menu items like pizza featuring Drake’s Bay Family Farms oysters, Straus cream braised leeks, lemon thyme and parsley.

Saltwater Oyster Depot12781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, CA

After a day exploring lighthouses or a day at the beach, Saltwater Oyster Depot offers a the perfect spot to recharge. This neighborhood, oyster bar and wine shop offers wine on tap, a rustic menu of local fare and invites local fishermen to bring their catch to the kitchen door.

Nick's Cove 23240 Highway 1, Marshall, CA

For a more elevated dining experience you have to visit Nick's Cove. They offer a full bar and fresh seafood dishes of all sorts to pair with a raw dozen. Plus, you'll enjoy epic views from their boat shack at the end of the pier.

Protip - Talk a walk after your meal down the pier to their boat shack, which available for private events.

Have a favorite oyster spot near Petaluma? Share it with us in the comments or on Facebook.

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