Beautiful Oysters of Arcata

Humboldt Bay's shimmery gems get shucked and savored this June.

HOW MANY CAN YOU EAT? While the oyster is small, somewhat, and easy to down, very, and perfectly paired with most beverages, so says pretty much everyone, it isn't exactly the same as, say, devouring a bag of chips or cheese puffs or another bite-sized item. For while you can pop a corn chip in your mouth, then another, then a dozen, without thinking about it, the oyster arrives with ceremony. There's the bend-forward move one must do, pre-slurp. There's the special wrist position one needs to assume to not spill any lovely juicery. There's the adding of a splash of hot sauce, if you're so inclined, or choosing to slurp it neat. And, quite often, there's the convivial grouping of friends, because every oyster aficionado knows it is more fun to shuck and slurp en masse.

SO... wee they may be, yes, but oysters? They're a lot in a little package. And "little package" leads us to this interesting factoid: "Over 70% of fresh oysters consumed in California are grown in the 450 acres of Humboldt Bay where the conditions are ideal." Nope, 450 acres can't exactly be considered a "little package" but in the grand scheme of Golden State waterfront? It's a snug area for so much oyster goodness. No wonder that Bay-adjacent Arcata fetes the mollusk each June with a major slurp-it-up.

THE DATE... is Saturday, June 14, the place is Arcata's Main Street, and there shall be chefs, food-makers, and other purveyors of oysters and oyster-laden dishes in plentitude. It just depends on how many you can eat, as you stroll along in the late, late spring scene, but, of course, the oyster, as mentioned, isn't for consuming quickly. So sip a microbrew -- bet they'll be sold, too, here and there -- and space out your oysterage throughout the day.

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