Local, you read that right. At this dinner party, all the guests were intently focused on mollusks. And as I left, I wondered… was my elation the result of having consumed a fair share of aphrodisiac? Just as likely, it was the pleasure in knowing there are still ardent, romantic farmers out there. Two were showcased at the party: the Jolly Oyster and Old Creek Ranch wines.
Plenty to absorb about both. But their products spoke for themselves, so I will simplify:
Larry and I first visited Old Creek Ranch Winery, off Highway 33 en route to Ojai, with friends Andrea and Nelson – it’s their favorite picnic venue. Imagine my delight to shake hands with winemaker Michael Meagher at the oyster tasting! I love meeting the people who make the products, and he is passionate about his. His Vino V Chardonnay slurped crisply along with the raw oysters. The Sangiovese with our Linguine and Clams dinner, *sigh.*
So now, to the mollusks. The short synopsis of the evening is, take a little road trip to San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura, step up to oyster and clam concession shack “The Jolly Oyster,” buy gorgeous fresh goods, walk a few paces to the picnic area and cook a feast. If you have a bottle of Vino V, bring it. Alcohol is allowed on that beach.
The long version covers all the reasons why. Mollusk farmer Mark Reynolds multi-tasked at the party; he swiftly shucked oysters while telling his fascinating story, 15 years in the making. How he came to do this. Baja California. How these oysters and clams can legally be called “local.” Environmental benefits – sustainability, organic. Production. Harvesting. What to taste. How to taste. And thankfully for YOU, it is much easier to see and hear Mark yourself. This is the video to watch.
The Jolly Oyster www.thejollyoyster.com
Old Creek Ranch Winery www.oldcreekranch.com