Learning All About Oysters at Carlsbad Aquafarm
Once upon a time I found shellfish disgusting but as my culinary palette expanded I learned to love it. Especially oysters, their briny sweetness embodies everything I love about coastal living and I’m always game to down a few. Of course, when it comes to oysters the fresher the better but how can you make sure they’re truly fresh unless you go to the source? That’s just what I did when I headed to Carlsbad Aquafarm for a tour and tasting.
Carlsbad Aquafarm has been operating out of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon since the 1950’s but only started offering public tours in the past year. As soon as I learned about them I knew I had to head San Diego way to check them out. So I grabbed my good friend, who also happens to love oysters, and headed down there on a recent Saturday morning.
As soon as we entered the farm I found my happy place. Located just across from the ocean in a peaceful lagoon it’s an inviting slice of SoCal living. The sun was shining, a cool breeze was blowing and there were shore birds everywhere. In fact, all those white specks in the photo above? Those are pelicans. They love hanging out on the buoys and baskets of the farm.
Speaking of buoys and baskets, we soon learned all about the farm’s process from breeding to cultivating to harvesting and it included a visit to the touch tank for a hands on introduction to the life cycle of an oyster from baby to breeder.
One of my biggest fears when it comes to oysters is the potential for food poisoning thanks to a certain episode of Mr. Bean. Visiting the washing area of the farm helped allay those fears as their oysters are washed in triple filtered sea water ensuring a safe dining experience.
After watching the oysters get washed it was time to chow down. Included in the tour are 6 super fresh oysters to enjoy but you have to shuck them yourself. Luckily, the farm provides all you need including a thorough lesson in shucking.
It took me awhile to get the hang of it but soon enough I was shucking away although I never did manage to avoid getting shell bits in my oyster. Luckily, that’s easily remedied and after adding a bit of lemon juice and hot sauce I was ready to eat.
Wow. Wowwowwowwow. They were incredible. So deliciously fresh and briny they made for a fantastic dining experience. I wish I could have taken some home as the farm also offers bags for sale but, alas, my was too long.
Visiting Carlsbad Aquafarm was a fun, unique and gastronomically delightful experience. My friend and I had a wonderful time and were so happy we made the drive down to Carlsbad to check it out. It’s the only oyster farm in SoCal open to the public and is well worth any effort to visit it. Your stomach will surely thank you if you do.