This Oyster Gets Around!
What do California, Alaska and Prince Edward Island have in common? On this occasion it’s this large oyster . . . or more specifically this oyster shell!
Its journey began when Regan Schneider in Temecula, California, USA ordered fresh Shikat (she-cat) Bay Oysters raised by Den Chevaviroj in Southeast Alaska. I began following Regan (a.k.a @theoyster_somm ) on Instagram because of her posts about tasting oysters from around the world. Being an oyster enthusiast myself I contacted her to find out what she does with those interesting spent oyster shells. I was thrilled to learn that she’s a fan of Oyster Art and sent me a varied collection of oyster shells noting where they were grown. Among them was the shell that inspired “Quintessence”.
There were 29 photographs taken of the small .75 inch section in blue rectangle. When photographing very close to a subject each photo can capture only a few areas in focus. All of the photos were assembled and developed to create this Oyster Art ~ Quintessence. In it I see “The flourishes of paint from each brush stroke blended colours so perfectly they were the quintessence of harmonious beauty. ”
QUINTESSENCE is in the Open Edition of Oyster Art. Click here to see sizes, print types and prices.
Thanks to Regan I have shells from oysters grown in Alaska
Having kindly helped me with my quest to photograph oyster shells from around the world I wanted to know a little about Regan. This is what I learned:
As an oyster sommelier she showcases some of the best oysters and their grower’s stories from around the world on her Instagram feed. She’s always thinking about pairing different wines with new oysters she has discovered. She looks for oyster farms that have interesting stories and any suggestions on how the farm itself feels the oysters are best enjoyed before I creating her own ideas for toppings and accompaniments. Regan’s interest in wine pairings with oysters undoubtedly evolves from having revived her family’s winery Matin Du Bois @matinduboisvintners
“I’m always looking for balance,” says Regan “so I’ll drink a little bit of the oyster’s liquor before anything to see how it is by itself, seeing if it’s briny or has a more fresh water taste to it and then I’ll try the oysters with nothing on it, noting the texture, the flavor development from the beginning to end, if there is any lingering taste and I note the size and probability of how someone will prepare it based on size.”
Shikat Bay Oyster Co
The Shikat Bay Oyster Company start their oysters from small seed, better known in the industry as “Oyster Spat”. When purchased from the hatchery or nursery the spat can range in size from 1/8” to 1”. Lots of care and labor goes into getting the spat to the 3” shooter size oyster which can take over 2-1/2 years. The oysters are raised in trays suspended from floating rafts. Each raft can hold up to 35 stacks of 9 trays, the stacks of oysters feed in the top 10 feet of the cold nutrient rich Alaska waters of Shikat Bay which is from 30-70 feet deep.
The oyster spat goes through a rigorous process during that time being taken out of the water on a routine basis and run through Tumbler/Sorters which sizes, cleans and breaks off the new growth causing the oyster to grow a deep cup with a fat meaty, flavorful, nice looking oyster ready for the market and ready to plate.
Regan definitely possess a discerning palate. Thanks to her, a new piece of Oyster Art has been added to the collection and I have learned about Shikat Bay oysters. Visit https://oysteralaska.com if you’re interested in an Alaska working vacation in Shikat Bay.
Now it’s time to grab some popcorn and seize your chance to enjoy a video visit with the Shikat Bay Oyster Co in Alaska.