After an amazing stay in Portland we headed to Liliwaup, WA on the Washington Peninsula for the 2nd Annual OYSTER RAMA! Festivities started at 11 AM at their company store and the party went into the early evening. The event not only has the delicious Hama Hama Oysters, beer, Whidbey Island Winery, and fun, but lots of great information about the tidelands!
If you didn’t already know, Puget Sound is one of the last great oyster producing regions in the world. Ocean acidification, toxic storm water runoff, accumulation of heavy metals (PCB’s and PAH’s, by-products of burning fossil fuels) are a few of the many threats facing shellfish and the shellfish industry, and it requires a significant amount of social awareness to address. The tideflats that the oysters are produced from are an economic, cultural, and ecologic resource that need to be protected.
Hama Hama Oysters, used the Oyster Rama Event to educate and engage people with shellfish in a really fun, dynamic way to generate support to keep the Puget Sound healthy. The fabulous event also taught participants how to harvest their own oysters and clams, skills they’ll be able to use on many public beaches throughout the State. Ecologists from Washington Sea Grant were on hand on the flats to interpret the sea life, a sea-creature “I-Spy” competition to get people to investigate the flats, and oyster farmers who will talk about how we use the flats to produce food and livelihoods. Upstream, there were environmental groups (everybody from salmon restoration members to Shellfish Ecologists to the Surfrider Foundation) setting up booths and talking with event attendees, putting on dynamic seminars on how we farm oysters, and of course oyster tastings.
The tideflat celebration had tons of delicious shellfish to eat, as well as an oyster sports competition that highlights the work that happens on an oyster farm (single picking, shucking, clam digging, etc). Hama Hama Oysters hosted some great live music in front of a mountain of oyster shells, art vendors, and other delicious treats like crab cakes that and oyster ice cream.
Beyond the enlightening environmental aspect of this amazing event also encompassed significant social responsibility to fund arts and cultural programs at the local school (where approximately 80% of the kids are on free or reduced lunch). If you didn’t make it this year, I highly recommend you join us and celebrate local, Olympic Peninsula food and wine and the local artists and artisans displaying their wares at the 3rd Annual Oyster Rama in 2013!