Pickering Pass Oysters are Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas) beach-grown in bottom bags in the Pickering Passage in South Puget Sound. The bottom is sand and rock. Waves, currents and tides naturally tumble the bags. Pickering Passage runs from Case Inlet in the north to Peale and Squaxin Passages and Hammersley Inlet in the south. It separates Harstine Island from the mainland. Maximum flood and ebb tides in Pickering Passage can hit 20 feet producing swift currents that rapidly flush the passage. Pickering Passage has nutrient rich water which encourages quick growth and plump full meat. The salinity in around 3.1% and is slightly below full ocean salinity.
The oysters are small, ranging from 2" to 2.75" with an average size of 2.5". They are oval to tear drop shape with deep cups for their size. The heats fill most of the cup with a small amount of liquor. Tumbling from wave action, tides and currents have kept the caps and cup fairly clean with some green algae tinges near the edges and in the low points but not a lot of barnacles and muck.
They smell like a woodsy seashore with some light salt and hints of cucumber and melon. The liquor is brackish rather than full ocean salty and it is just a shade saltier than the meats. The meat's texture is firm but melt in your mouth buttery and is not membranous. The meats are sweet, meaty and buttery - more sweet than salty - about the level of salt you might find in a salted caramel. A vegetable note suggests cucumber as you savor it and some melon and a hint of Brie are in the background. I am enjoying the oysters with a bottle of Klockow Brewery's Doppledapple - a rich, malty doppel bock best described as liquid bread and the flavors play well with the oysters. The beer's sweetness complements the oyster's and the oyster's saltiness highlights the sweetness and maltiness of the beer. The maltiness also brings some of the oyster's Brie notes forward and the beer has a spiciness that pulls out more of the oyster's cucumber and melon notes. The pairing has me thinking of a Brie sandwich on dark German bread with some fresh butter and a few thin slices of cucumber. I rate the oysters 80 and the pairing 85.