Bivalves are beckoning in November with the 19th annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival Nov. 20 to 22, where the world literally is your oyster. With over 50,000 gallons of Pacific oysters harvested in the region annually, Tofino has plenty to shuck and slurp about.
But first, here are the top 5 facts you may not know about oysters:
1. Oysters have many health benefits
No question, oysters are famous for their aphrodisiac-like qualities, but they have other dead-sexy healthy attributes. Especially zinc – great for energy, boosting your immune system, and anti-aging including making your bones stronger.
2. There are only five types of oysters
There are “varieties” of oysters, but only five types or “species.” They grow in different waters but really distinguishes them is the shells. Here’s a quick overview:
- Pacific Oysters (or Japanese Oyster) – small shell with wavy casings
- Kumamoto Oysters – small, round and pale shell
- European Flat Oysters – large straight-like shell with fine ridges
- Atlantic Oysters – large shells shaped like a teardrop
- Olympia Oysters – smoother shell with shimmery, iridescent colouring
3. Oysters clean the water
Not only are oysters tasty, they’re hard working. A single oyster filters about 30 to 50 gallons of water a day. So a whole bed of oysters is like a big filtration Swiffer! Oyster shells are also made out of calcium carbonate, so they act like an antacid pill in the ocean, helping to regenerate a fish-friendly environment.
4. Not all types of oysters make pearls
Who wouldn’t want to find a pearl in their oyster? Unfortunately, don’t count on that lucky-charm when you order your next plate of half-shells. Pearl oysters are not edible. Unlike the “ostreidae” family of oysters harvested near the surface of the ocean that we enjoy, pearl oysters are from the “pteriidae” family found deep in the ocean.
5. Oysters taste better in the winter
What do May, June, July and August have in common? Besides summer breezes, none of them have an “R” in them. And when it comes to oysters, the old adage to avoid oysters during those months is true. Besides it being harder to keep oysters cold and fresh in the summer heat, bivalves are spawning over those months, which makes them watery and not as flavourful. So to avoid a “bad bivalve,” stick to R-months when oysters are thriving.
As returning oyster-lovers will attest, the Clayoquot Oyster Festival is an indulgent culinary adventure including oyster & wine tastings, Lemmens Inlet Oyster Farm tours, the Mermaid’s Masquerade, and the grand finale Oyster Gala showcasing oyster-inspired creations from local restaurants, live music and dancing.
Tickets for the Oyster Gala are going fast and will sell-out, but we’ve still got a few left with your name on them!
Check out our Oyster Festival Package including 2 Oyster Gala tickets along with your choice of beachfront and ocean view accommodations and wine on arrival.
PS: Did you hear that last oyster joke? We laughed so hard we pulled a mussel.