Community Shellfish Farms
Puget Sound Restoration Fund operates two community shellfish farms in Puget Sound to restore and maintain healthy shellfish growing areas, spur cleanup efforts and maintain community access to shellfish resources. The purpose of a community shellfish farm is to connect people to their marine environment at a gut level. When residents get involved in shellfish farming they personally benefit from clean water – they get to eat shellfish right off the beach, they get to experience the productivity of a healthy marine ecosystem, and they become invested in maintaining water quality. When bacterial contamination threatens their ability to harvest, residents are motivated to change practices on their own property and support local pollution control efforts to regain something that’s personally important to them. Harvesting local seafood on the beach makes people WANT to protect the marine environment, which leads to a long-term commitment to the health of Puget Sound.
What it means to become a member of our community shellfish farms
The Port Madison farm uses a Community Supported Aquaculture (CSA) model that allows participants to buy a membership to a farm and receive deliveries of shellfish throughout the season. CSA membership prices, seasons, and logistics vary from farm to farm, and all the proceeds from shellfish sales support local water quality improvement projects and community involvement programs. As a member you are also invited to volunteer with harvesting. This means you will get to visit the farm, help us collect and bag shellfish and partake in the fun of eating locally! Becoming a member of a community shellfish farm means more than receiving clams or oysters; it means having the opportunity to connect with a local food source and contribute to critical pollution control efforts in your community.
For those in Thurston County, Henderson Inlet oysters can be found at the Farm Stand in east Olympia, at local restaurants, or just come out to one of our monthly work parties at the Henderson Inlet farm.
Learn more about our community shellfish farms
|Henderson Inlet Community Shellfish Farm – Olympia|
|Port Madison Community Shellfish Farm – Bainbridge Island|
Drayton Harbor’s Reinvention Story
In 2014, PSRF’s first community oyster farm officially left the nest. The Drayton Harbor farm transitioned to a for-profit business called Drayton Harbor Oyster Company LLC in July. This was a huge victory many years in the making. Enticing a commercial venture back to Drayton Harbor was part of the original vision dating back to 1999 when Geoff Menzies and PSRF first conceived of launching a community oyster farm to spur water quality improvements and invest the community in the health of the bay. Our goal – then and now – was to restore commercial, recreational and tribal harvest. Lo these 15 years later, a commercial venture has taken the plunge and we are cheering them on. The new farm is owned and operated by Steve and Mark Seymour, a family with a 25-year history of oyster farming in Drayton Harbor, Chuckanut and Lummi Bays. Steve managed the Drayton Community farm for PSRF 2013-2014 while Geoff Menzies took a break from his twenty years at the helm.
Moving forward, PSRF will still partner with the new farm on all manner of Drayton Harbor projects, including Olympia oyster restoration. CSA members cultivated over many a year will be lovingly tended as the farm expands local and overseas sales. The new business will also continue supporting the Garden of the Salish Sea school program as well as the Fish and Aquaculture programs at Bellingham Technical College offering students from both programs opportunities to get up close and personnel (a.k.a. wet and muddy) with Drayton oysters.
On the water quality front, the new farm will continue to draw attention to the need for clean water and press forward with pollution control efforts in order to preserve the long oyster farming history of the bay. There are still a significant number of shellfish acres needing recovery, which will require concerted and sustained action in the years ahead. We are hopeful that the taste of “Drayton Golds” will help propel these efforts forward. Lest there’s any doubt on that score, it should be noted that the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company LLC came fast out of the gate in 2015 to win the “Bite of Blaine.” To see for yourself, go to the following link: http://www.thenorthernlight.com/2015/02/18/bite-of-blaine-2015/
Click here for more information.
A luscious "Drayton Gold" oyster
If you are interested in becoming a CSA member, please visit specific farm pages for more information and to download a membership form. You can also find our oysters at the following locations:
Drayton Harbor Oysters
- The Cliff House
- Resort Semiahmoo
- Bellingham Food Co-Op
- Brooklyn Seafood, Steak and Oyster House
- Walrus and Carpenter
- Elliott's Oyster House
- Right from the dock at Blaine Marina, Gate 3 each Saturday (March through May/early June) from 9:00 to 10:00 am
Henderson Inlet Oysters
1. Come out and volunteer at one of the Henderson Community Farm work parties. These are scheduled monthly:
- November 16th, from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm.
- December 14th, from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm.
- January 11th, from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm.
- February 8th, from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm.
- Check back later for additional dates
The work parties are at the terminus of Sleater Kinney Road NE. When the road curves and turns into 56th Ave. NE, stay on Sleater Kinney Road NE. Go through a gate, and park at the barn. Dress for weather (you will be outside). Rain gear is appropriate. Rubber boots and gardening gloves are best. We have a supply of boots and gloves for those who are without. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our volunteer email list.
2. Come visit our Farmstand on Thursdays. Check back soon for our hours. We accept phone and email orders--call 360-209-2044 or email email@example.com. The Farmstand is located on the NW corner of Lily Road SE and Stoll Road SE in Lacey, WA. (Click here for a Google map.) It is called the George and Sons Fruit Market. You can pre-order here, or bring cash. No credit cards, please.
3. Find them at these local restaurants:
- Aqua Via
- Dockside Bistro
- Ramblin' Jacks
- The Rockfish Bar and Grill
- Olympia Seafood Company
- Elliott's Oyster House (Seattle)
If you are interested in wholesale orders, please contact Derek King at 360-209-2044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Madison Petites
- Bainbridge Island Farmer’s Market
- Bainbridge Island Town and Country (depending on product availability)
- Poulsbo Central Market (depending on product availability)
The money generated from shellfish sales from each farm go towards local water quality improvement projects and community outreach efforts that work to fulfill needs in each of the three communities. Projects and programs vary from farm to farm, but here are some examples of our ongoing efforts:
- Conduct farm tours each year to educate students, parents, and teachers in shellfish aquaculture and water quality.
- Harvest over hundreds of dozens of oysters for public events, including Oyster New Year at Elliott’s Oyster House.
- Install shellfish gardens on private tidelands to invest local property owners in the value of clean water (bringing the total to 70 gardens installed to date).
- Involve volunteers in thinning and harvesting oysters, preparing shellfish garden kits, organizing aquaculture gear and serving community-grown shellfish at local events.
- Sponsor annual oyster giveaways for local residents who take action to manage their septic systems (residents receive one dozen oysters with proof of inspection).
- Increase education and awareness about the effects of pet waste on water quality.
- Provide a free mobile pump-out service to boaters in Port Madison Bay and help boaters understand how bacterial pollution from sewage can affect water quality and marine resources.