Balancing Act

Mail Order Oysters From Island Creek Oysters

We love oysters and just placed our first order at Island Creek Oyster farm. Here I write about our first mail-order seafood experience, unboxing Island Creek Oysters package and review in this article.

We love oysters served whichever way, be it grilled, Rockefeller style, smoked, baked or fried. Raw oysters are particularly our favorite, but living in Southern California, high quality fresh oysters are especially hard to come by without shelling out an average of $3.15+ per oyster.

Mail Order Oysters

Before mail order oysters became an option, our go-to fresh oyster farmer is Tomales Bay Oyster Company. They sell their oysters to consumers at Bodega Bay Oyster Co. in Petaluma, CA.

Whenever we pass through Northern California, picking up a 50 count bag from Bodega Bay Oyster Co. is always an absolute must for us. Onto mail order oysters…

My interest piqued when I became aware of Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, MA. They farm their own oysters and ship overnight nationwide. Shipping isn’t cheap, at $45.00 per order and included in the price, but I gave them a try anyways. I ordered their Starter Pack, which includes 2 dozen of their flagship oysters, a pair of shucking gloves and a shucking knife. The total came out to $75 with shipping included in the price. When doing the math, that comes out to about $3.13 per oyster. If you’re a local, pick up for two dozen oysters is merely $30.00, for comparison. If we were to order their 50 oysters count pack, the cost per oyster drops drastically at $2.10 each. And if we ever order their 100 oysters count pack, the cost per oyster is a mere $1.40 each.

Ordering from Island Creek Oysters

Ordering from Island Creek is straight forward. A weekday delivery date can be selected upon checkout. I ordered on a Wednesday and selected Friday as the delivery date. Saturday deliveries are possible, but at a surcharge of $30. Island Creek Oysters use FedEx Standard Overnight service to deliver their oysters to your door.

FedEx delivered our oysters on Friday as scheduled at 1:24 PM PST.

Unboxing the Island Creek Oysters Starter Pack

Island Creek Oysters packed the 2 dozen oysters in a Styrofoam cooler with 4 ice packs and a freshness indicator. As far as boxing goes, Island Creek Oysters shipped in a well proportioned box. That is, no extra wasted space for the oysters to tumble around, and not too small making unpacking a mission. Here is a breakdown of what are included with the Starter Pack:

Island Creek Oysters shipping package

The shucking gloves and shucking knife are placed in a separate bag to keep them dry during their travel.

Island Creek Oysters packing
Island Creek Oysters starter pack shucking gloves and shucking knife

Two mesh bags containing a dozen oysters each are placed between four ice packs.

Two dozen Island Creek Oysters

A Timestrip temperature breach indicator was included to monitor the container temperature.

Timestrip

After unpacking the oysters, I stacked them in a Tupperware, covered it with a damp cloth towel and stored it in the refrigerator until shucking time in the evening.

Island Creek Oysters refrigerated until ready for consumption

The Oysters

The Island Creek Oysters are medium size, some on the small-medium range (2½” to 3½” shell length). This is the perfect size for oyster lovers who cringe at the sight of jumbo oysters. The oysters were plucked from their oyster bed and then bagged up in plastic mesh bags. The oysters arrived still covered with residual mud and collateral bivalve shells, so I had to rinse and scrub them before shucking them. Don’t get me wrong, the interior of the oysters are completely clean and free of mud.

Shucking

I used my trusty OXO Good Grips Oyster Knife to shuck these oysters, but find myself chipping at the hinge and constantly breaking shells. I switched to the shucking knife included with the Island Creek Oysters starter package and it made quick and easy work of the remaining oysters.

The Taste

Island Creek Oysters ready for consumption

The Island Creek Oysters are definitely more briny than any west coast oysters I’ve had. While the brininess is up there, it is not unbearable by any means. The briny liquor hits the tongue up front and coating it with a familiar earthiness to linger. The oyster meat itself has a refreshing, sweet concentrated vegetal, almost cucumber finish. Absolutely no sign of fishiness, which is a tell tale sign of low quality oysters or oysters that have been sitting in the super market for too long.

The oysters pair harmoniously well with a chilled bottle of Muscadet under the hot Southern California summer evening.

Verdict

Oysters from Island Creek Oysters are our first mail order oysters. Never in my lifetime would I consider ordering live oysters through the mail. I’ve ordered seafood (lobsters from Lobsters Anywhere) and steaks (Crowd Cow) before, and they all arrived just fine. I’d figured ordering from a company that specializes a part of their business in mail order oysters wouldn’t hurt and the payoff was fantastic.

It took me about 14 minutes to shuck two dozen oysters and less than half that time for us to consume them all! The oysters were fresh, high quality and exquisite. I will be ordering more from Island Creek Oysters, perhaps sampling their Island Creeks, Aunt Dottys, Row 34s oysters before plopping down for a 50 count or even 100 count order of oysters.

Ready for our next round of Island Creek Oysters!

If you are an oyster aficionado and haven’t tried east coast oysters from Island Creek Oysters, I highly recommend that you do. You’ll be pleasantly delighted.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.