Drakes Bay Oyster Farm supporter Rowan Jacobsen is the author of A Geography of Oysters, Fruitless Fall, The Living Shore, American Terroir, and Shadows on the Gulf. He has written for the New York Times, Harper’s, Outside, Mother Jones, Orion, and others, and his work has been anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing and Best Food Writing collections. Whether visiting endangered oystermen in Louisiana or cacao-gathering tribes in the Bolivian Amazon, his subject is how to maintain a sense of place in a world of increasing placelessness. Visit his website here.
Jacobsen’s book A Geography of Oysters is the indispensable guide to all things oyster. A companion website, The Oyster Guide, is a wonderful online resource, featuring an oyster finder that provides details about almost every oyster available. The guide includes a feature called What Kind of Oyster Eater Are You? in which Drakes Bay oysters are said to be perfect for “The Clean Freak,” since these oysters are grown in the pristine waters of Drakes Estero.
About Drakes Bay oysters, the guide says “The oysters, which won a national competition for Most Beautiful Pacific Oyster, were tender and delicate, quite briny, as you’d expect from an area that sees virtually no rain, and sweet with a touch of bitter herb.”
The site uses the past tense because the entry was written after Secretary Salazar declined to renew the oyster farm’s lease, a circumstance Jacobsen finds appalling, writing: Alas, in late 2012 the lease expired and the Park Service quashed the oyster farm, despite vehement protest from anyone who had a clue. What could have been a shining example of people and nature working together to produce sustainable food is now just another park.
Since writing that passage, Jacobsen has been pleased to learn that the fight for Drakes Bay continues. He is among those supporters who are hoping Salazar’s misguided decision will be overturned.