Spring is here, which means it’s peak season for one of our favorite Bay Area food field trips. Between now and the end of April (and the end of oyster season), you have to do the following day out, either by bike (if you’re awesome) or by car.
Dedicated oyster lovers know that the freshest way to get your bivalves is to head up to Point Reyes Station, where a couple of aquaculturists will sell you their crop straight out of the water and let you eat it at little picnic areas right there on the bay. Our favorite for this is Tomales Bay Oyster Company, but there’s also Hog Island and, over in Drake’s Estero, Drake’s Bay Oyster Company. Here’s how to make the most of that picnic:
Whether driving or biking, head up Highway 1. It’s just better. Scenic as can be, and a mellower ride. You can even stop at the beach on the way.
When you get to Point Reyes Station, pick up a loaf of bread and some cookies and brownies and whatnot at the Bovine Bakery. Yes, yes, perhaps you can find slightly more inventive confections at places like Tartine or something, but you’re in the country now, and you don’t want rasberries balanced on wafers of chocolate. You want bread. And brownies. And impossibly sticky cinnamon rolls.
Across the street, hit up the Palace Market for some cheese from the Marin French Cheese Factory. This place is just a couple miles away toward Petaluma (you can even make a detour there for a tour if you want, but not if you’re on a bike). Get some wine — hell, if you’re really dedicated, you can make a special trip to the Point Reyes Winery — or some beer (Lagunitas, as in, Lagunitas Brewing Company is also nearby, so that’s your jam).
Then you head north, either toward Marshall, if you’re going to land at Tomales Bay Oysters or Hog Island, or to Inverness, if you’re heading to Drake’s, and prepare to picnic like a champion. Tomales Bay and Hog Island provide shucking implements and tables. Tomales also has grills (we think. It’s been a while). Drake’s may not have a picnic area (again, it’s been a while), but it’s right in the middle of the Point Reyes National Seashore, so the world’s best picnicking is literally steps away.
And there you go. Guaranteed, one of the best afternoons you’ll spend all year.
Tomales Bay Oyster Company [Official Site]
Hog Island Oyster Company [Official Site]
Drake’s Bay Oyster Company [Official Site]
Marin French Cheese Factory [Official Site]
Point Reyes Winery [Official Site]
[Photo: Via Star5112/flickr]