Friday, May 8, 2015

The Jolly Oyster Market, Bringing Fresh Shellfish to Torrance

The Jolly Oyster is a beloved oyster shack in Ventura, where many Angelenos have taken a day trip to get fresh oysters and have a picnic in the park where the shack is located. They have all natural oyster farms based in Baja in Mexico. If Ventura seems too far for you, though, don't worry, since The Jolly Oyster just opened a market in Torrance! As with everything in Torrance, it's in a strip mall. Hanging on the walls are photos of their oyster farms in Baja. I really enjoyed listening to the story of how they got started and what they do. If you're interested, you should check out the documentary video.

Jolly Oyster
Now, since the space is small they can't have seating for you to eat oysters there, but they will shuck them and sell them to you to take home (or to a park nearby or whatever). It does cost more to buy shucked oysters than unshucked ones, obviously, but it's still cheaper than getting them at a restaurant. A half-dozen shucked oysters go for $10, while unshucked oysters are $1.25 each (or $1 if you buy more than $40).

Jolly Oyster has three different sauces you can put on your shellfish, but there's no cocktail sauce because that overpowers the oysters! There's a vinaigrette made with beets, a spicy one with garlic and thai chili, and a brown rice vinegar with cucumber.
Jolly Oyster
At their market, you can find three different types of oysters: Kumamoto, Pacific Oysters, and the namesake Jolly oysters, which are a cross of the Kumamotos and the Pacifics. The Jollies were our favorite!

Granted I haven't really bought a lot of oysters at markets or grocery stores before, but you won't be disappointed with the quality and freshness of the osyters here.
Jolly Oyster

The owner, Mark Reynolds, showed us how to shuck oysters. He makes it look so easy, but it took us a while to just shuck one oyster. Practice makes perfect? They also sell shucking knives if you want to have a go at it.
Jolly Oyster
Mark Reynolds, owner of Jolly Oyster
Now they also have Island Stone Crab claws. Now, stone crab claws are sustainable because stone crabs can regrow their claws! It can take the crab about 3 years to regrow to 95% of its original adult-sized claw and the claws have to be broken at the correct place to begin with, but when everything is done properly, it seems a great way to harvest crab meat without killing the crab.
Jolly Oyster
While we were there we saw a couple discussing their wedding with Mark - so, yes, you can have Jolly Oyster cater oysters for your private parties. Oyster and champagne reception? Sounds like an amazing wedding. Don't forget to invite me.


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