503-227-5906, 208 SW Ankeny St, Portland
JULY 3, 1939 — Under a new law passed by the last legislature, possession of fresh clams outside the limits of Oregon’s coast counties during the summer season is illegal. So Portland seafood addicts are doing without. But they can always fall back on the state’s famous native oysters, acclaimed by many connoisseurs as the peer of them all. To help the native industry, the state last week announced a $3000 project for work on the beds at Yaquina Bay under the joint efforts of the state fish commission and Oregon state college research experts. The beds are worked under the jurisdiction of the fish commission. Here is a round-the-clock story of the Oregon oyster, native only to Yaquina Bay.
First, shuckers open the firm white delicacies preparatory to serving it to a hungry Portlander at Dan & Louie’s. About 25,000 sacks a year are consumed. The shells are not thrown away or sold, although there is good demand for them as a base for chick feed. Instead, the Oregon Oyster Co. piles them up and allows them to dry, and clean for an entire year.
Then, the clean shells are taken back to Yaquina Bay, and at just the proper moment, learned by close study, they are dumped into the bay in time to catch the spawn of the mature oysters. Long study has shown that native shell is the substance to which the spawn will cling best. After the spawn attaches to the shell, it is called “spat” and is then beginning its four-year growth before it becomes mature enough for consumption.
The oysters are “tonged” up from the bottom by means of a long-handled shear-legged rake contraption. In the packing house the oysters are sorted, the mature ones kept and the young returned to complete their growth. The beds are worked much in the manner of a well-regulated farm, by sections. The completed cycle is the opening of the four-year-old oyster — probably, one which grew on a shell from an oyster cleaned at the same table five years earlier.
The old myth that oysters can’t be eaten in a month which has no “R” just doesn’t hold for the native Oregon — the clean, cold water of Yaquina Bay makes them good all around the year.
– News Telegram