Walrus and Carpenter Picnics
Walrus & Carpenter Oyster Picnics on Taylor's Totten Inlet Oyster Beds
The Ultimate Oyster Experience
January 9, February 7, and February 8, 2017
"O Oysters come and walk with us, a pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, upon the briny beach..."
Hosted by Taylor Shellfish Farms as a benefit for the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, the Walrus & Carpenter picnics provide the ultimate oyster-eating experience. "We are pleased and honored to join with Taylor Shellfish for these night-time excursions. Eating oysters right off the beach is the ultimate reminder that we are fed by these waters and forever bound to keep them clean," says Betsy Peabody, Executive Director of the Restoration Fund.
Lewis Carroll's "The Walrus and The Carpenter," a whimsical tale about how the Walrus and the Carpenter lure the oysters for "a pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, upon the briny beach" and then proceed to eat every one, provided the inspiration for these picnics, says organizer, Jon Rowley.
Walrus and Carpenters depart on the Oyster Bus for the 1 1/2 hour ride to Totten Inlet at 6:30 pm from Taylor's Queen Anne Oyster Bar at 124 Republican Street returning around midnight. To instill a sense of adventure, the Oyster Bus ventures forth regardless of weather. Walruses and Carpenters are therefore advised to dress for the weather to stay warm and dry.
The nighttime, low tide “picnic” takes place by lantern and moonlight on Taylor’s Totten Inlet oyster bed in the middle of winter when oysters—Olympia, Shigoku, Pacific and Totten Inlet Virginica—are at their peak. An icy gust of wind off the bay can invigorate the experience. Plump, sweet, perky oysters just rousted from their beds, opened on the spot, with cold, crisp “oyster wines” served in Reidel stemware make for just the right mix of magic and madness.
ALL 2017 EVENTS HAVE SOLD OUT.
Note: our Walrus and Carpenter Picnic predates and is not associated with the excellent Walrus and Carpenter restaurant.
Unlike the Walrus and Carpenter
we enter the poem on slippery rocks
and ruffled oyster shells.
Torches serpentine through darkness,
shucking knives click as oysters pop,
rows of meaty half shells glow like
the Cantina scene from Star Wars.
Amid swirling low-tide perfumes
and crashing surf music,
crackling wood embers tango and spiral
like fireflies in the wind.
We are night marchers in rubber boots,
slick raingear, and piercing spelunker headlights.
Instinctively we migrate as if magnetized
by shucking bars teeming with Kumamotos, Shigokus
and Olympias. Head beams crisscross
like prison search lights and disappear
among wine bars, shuckers, and darkness
enveloping the beach.
We lose ourselves in oyster moments.
Discover enlightenment in briny flavors of gills
and glycogen chewed slowly as if full of pearls
until we savor plankton, somewhere down
the food chain. Cold Pinot Grigo cleanses the palate
Like zealots we slurp and casually toss empty
dead soldiers with a flick of the wrist.
This tale has no trolls, wicked queens,
or unhappy endings. Fearless, we live
in the moment’s cacophony
and revel with newfound friends.
Experiencing old world magical
phantasms that connect us to all living creatures
seems like a dream in the morning.
But my body remembers buttery morsels fit for the gods
that launch us like Roman candles. Wine glasses explode,
oyster shooters fly, and the law of gravity repealed.
Unfettered and no longer down to earth,
we levitate freely, tango madly with the stars.
Lawrence Matsuda (copyright 2016)
In celebration of the February 6th, 2016 Walrus and Carpenter Picnic -
Totten Inlet, Washington hosted by Taylor Shellfish and Jon Rowley
with proceeds benefiting The Puget Sound Restoration Fund.