Shina Wysocki and Kyle Lentz of Chelsea Farms grow Chelsea Gem Oysters (Pacific Oysters, Crassostrea gigas) on the mud bottomed eastern shore of Puget Sound's Eid Inlet about 0.7 miles north of Fry Cove. Chelsea Farms' tide powered tumbling rack and bags take full advantage of the area's twice daily 14 foot tides and keeps the oysters off bottom in less than 10 feet of water. Eid Inlet's salinity - 2.9% to 3.5% is at ocean levels. The oval shells average 2.75", are clean and range from bone with purple stripes to almost all purple. The cup size is above average.
Meat fills about 65% of the cup and liquor fills 5 to 10% Growing the oysters off bottom tends to emphasize the character of the water over the beach. The oysters smell of seaweed and sea breeze with hints of cucumber. The liquor is clean, briny and brothy. The meats are crisp, smooth and meaty with just a trace of membrane on the finish. Cucumber with a hint of sweet leads the flavors supported by seaweed and the oyster's traces of butter suggests Brie. Mineral, metallic flavors with a light touch of bitterness emerge on the dry lingering finish.
I am washing these down with Shimizu-no-Mai Pure Snow Nigori Sake and it tones down the seaweed flavors and brings out the cucumber and the Sake's melon works in he pairing but overall the Nigori Sake's creaminess does not go well with the salt and the Sake is a bit big for the oyster. I rate the oysters 75 and the pairing 70.