July 2, 2009: Raw Oyster Season = Unofficially Over

News from Here Oysters

It's been a dry, hot spring and summer in Western Washington, and we here at Hama Hama are declaring the raw oyster season over until fall. The reason? When the water gets warm, a naturally-occuring saltwater bacteria called Vibrio parahaemolyticus proliferates. If vibrio gets into an oyster, and if you eat that oyster raw, you'll probably experience what is politely called "gastrointestinal distress." (Check out our earlier post about vibrio here.) Nobody has gotten sick from Hood Canal oysters this year, so there is no official closure, but WE are no longer eating raw oysters. We've also stopped selling extra small oysters in the shell, which is the size most often consumed raw. However, we are still eating lots of cooked oysters, which brings us to our next announcement: Saturday, July 4th we'll be selling barbecued oysters, bacon-wrapped oysters, and steamed clams at the nth annual Hoodsport Days Festival. Hoodsport is a cute, quaint little town with a spectacular view of Hood Canal and great access to the Olympic National Park. Hoodsport in 2009:

Hoodsport in the 1920s:

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  • All Shucking September on

    […] Vibrio is a naturally-occurring salt water bacteria that proliferates when the Canal gets warm. If you eat an oyster raw, and if that oyster has just taken a big drink of vibrio-rich salt water, you might get sick to your stomach. To discourage people from eating oysters raw during vibrio season, we always take a few voluntary precautions: we stop selling extra smalls and Blue Pools (the sizes most likely to be served on the half shell) and plaster our retail store with signs advising customers to cook all shellfish. State-imposed vibrio shutdowns happen almost annually, but we thought we were in the clear this year…. the summer was relatively cool, and it’s almost over. Alas. It’s unfortunate for the people who got ill, and for the people up and down the Canal who will be (temporarily) out of work, and for the customers who came into our store looking for oysters to put on their Labor Day barbecues. Sorry! […]

  • Oyster update, July 2010 | Hama Hama® Oyster Blog on

    […] Well, it’s that time of year again. Summertime. And the oysters are doing what they do: getting spawny. And you can no longer eat them raw because of naturally-occurring salt water bacteria. We’ve all been here before. […]

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