Taylor Shellfish Farms
I think I just passed through one of the busiest summers of my life. Getting married and opening a restaurant in the same month was considered by many of my friends and family to be completely absurd. They were right. The thought of not having a honeymoon didn’t really bother either of us since in light of the new restaurant the very idea of leaving town for any amount of time was more stress than it was worth. About a month after our wedding we had some friends come into to town from Toronto who were embarking on a short tour down the West Coast of the States. Perfect. We decided to take one day off and accompany them to their first show in Bellingham, WA. We were happy to be getting out of town and then a friend told us about a place just outside Bellingham that made us giddy: Taylor Shellfish Farms, a small, fresh oyster farm right on the water.
Taylor Shellfish is technically in Chuckanut, but only a 15-minute detour off the highway. To get to it you drive down a long winding highway (the original Pacific Coastal Highway) surrounded by old growth Pacific Northwest forest, cross an old railway, and you’re there. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful drives I’ve experienced. Maybe it was the time of day, the sun on the horizon, the trees and dropping cliffs, or maybe it was the fact that I just picked up a couple cold six packs of Deschutes Brewery’s Mirror Pond and seasonal Summer Ale for $7.99 at the local grocers. Regardless, my spirits were high. On route we picked up some lemons, hot sauce and horseradish not knowing what to expect when we got there. It turned out none of that was necessary as everything was readily available at the small unassuming sea shanty at the bottom of the hill (the beer, however, was an invaluable asset).
There’s not a whole lot there when you arrive, save for a few picnic tables and BBQ’s (grilled oysters!). Oh, and the ocean surrounded by hills of sprawling forests. We spoke to the farmer at the counter and picked out our preferred varieties netted by the half-dozen and made our way to our staked out picnic table. After a brief tutorial on the proper way to shuck an oyster without a trip to the emergency room, we embarked on bar-none, the best oyster experience of our lives. They could not have been any more fresh and salty. What started with a dozen quickly turned into two as the four of us devoured one after another, fighting for the shucking tool between bites. We also happened to have with us some cheese and bread and potato chips, which I would recommend to break up the snack just a bit.
Taylor Shellfish Farms are open year-round but I’d recommend going during the warmer months if you plan on eating on-site as there’s no indoor seating. Apparently we lucked out getting a table and not having to wait, as typically on a weekend there’s a line up all day long. Though we didn’t get a chance to try throwing anything on the BBQ, it is highly anticipated on our next visit. And as a last minute honeymoon destination? Perfect.