Ark of Taste
Olympia Native Oyster
The Olympia Oyster - also known as the Oly Oyster - is native to the west coast of the US and was widely over-harvested by American Indians and later European settlers to the point of depletion. Sustainable cultivation in the Puget Sound of Washington State began in the 1930’s, but rapidly declined due to pollution from an emerging pulp and paper industry. At this point, Oyster production shifted to larger and more resistant species, which were imported from Japan. The Olympia Oyster is typically the size of a 50-cent piece.
The Olympia Native Oyster is now hand harvested by a few family-run shellfish farms, and local organizations such as the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, who are committed to restoring this oyster in its natural habitat.
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