California’s Oysters

It was only a few years ago that people began to hear about California’s Oysters. This was a secret that had been reserved for a few beach communities along California’s senic coastline. When we begin to examine the diversity of topography and the size of California’s coastline, it does seem odd that nothing was being produced out of this very diverse state.

As we begin to look at the California coastline with its Mediterranean climate and Desert tendancies, we see the bountiful palm trees flourishing along the coast especially in Southern California. With the flow of the Pacific Ocean, water directly from Alaska keeps the coastline fairly cold all year round..

The California water is also very rich in nutrients due to the Pacific Gyre, the California Current and the winds that create an upwelling of cold and very rich water along the cost of Oregon, California, and Baja California which make this stretch of coast one of the most productive in the world.

This nutrient rich water creates a good environment to grow oysters if the right technique is applied. California, with the exception of San Francisco Bay, is almost devoid of Bays that will support oyster growing. As a beach culture, the main technique that is used to grow them is a technique that originates from Japan: – the suspension or lantern culture, and when the right bottom culture conditions are available the technique known as rack and bag culture is used.

The Golden State is known as a dry state, not for the lack of booze but for the low level of rain, this produces oysters that are slightly more briney than other oysters.

When introducing the notion of Meroir, it makes sense to include the oysters from Baja California as well. The fact is that the geological formation of Baja California is directly linked to the geology of California, in fact the Sea of Cortez that separates the Baja California Peninsula from main land Mexico is just an extension of the San Andreas fault that crosses perpendicular to the state of California. The San Andreas Fault is a major contributing factor to the makeup of the state of California.

Christophe Happillon