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Oysters and clams from Hood Canal to your front porch

Hama Hama brings the beach to shellfish lovers.

LILLIWAUP, Wash. — A drive along a certain stretch of Highway 101 isn't complete without a stop at this spot with the waterfront views and towering mounds of oyster shells. 

“This is the Hama Hama Company and beautiful Hood Canal Washington," said wholesale manager Justin Stang, who has been busy in a completely new way of late. 

They've been farming shellfish here since 1922. 

Hama Hama's outdoor Oyster Saloon is a destination for seafood lovers - and they supply oysters and clams to restaurants nationwide.

Those operations are shuttered right now because the coronavirus stay-at-home order. And recreational shellfishing is off limits for the time being for the same reason. 

But harvest has to continue, says Stang:

"The farm and the farm products won't wait for a pause, we need to move a lot of these oysters and clams to make room for the oyster seed for next year’s crop."

So they're sending out their bounty - in boxes.

"People get oysters and clams delivered fresh to their doorstep and they're all preparing them at home and putting up really amazing pictures and social media of all the great things that they're cooking, so it's really exciting that it's taken off in a home-cooking fashion."

It's called Operation Farmgate - shipping seafood from the beach, to home-bound customers. And it's keeping the lights on and the shuckers shucking at this family business. 

Boxes start at 35 dollars; a salty steal. You can order clams, oysters or a combination of both. There are also ad-ons like lemons, oyster knives branded with the Hama Hama logo, chipotle bourbon butter, nettle butter made with stinging nettles foraged from the forests in the area, even hand sanitizer made by nearby Hardware Distillery. 

Despite this shutdown at the peak of their spring shellfish harvest, Hama Hama is hard at work because they've known for decades that here in Washington, clams and oysters are essential.

"I think shellfish, for folks that live in the Pacific Northwest, it's ingrained in their identity."

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