OLYMPIA, Wash. — If you're an oyster fanatic, the Walrus and Carpenter Picnic is a must-do event.
Hosted by Taylor Shellfish Farms to raise money for the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, this magical event takes place on a little beach in Totten Inlet, about an hour and a half away from Seattle, right in the South Puget Sound.
Picnickers pay for tickets, meet at the Taylor Shellfish Farms Queen Anne location, hop on a bus, and are dropped off at Taylor's Totten Inlet oyster bed, a beach filled with oysters. Picnickers have the opportunity to pluck oysters from the sand and shuck them on the beach, all while enjoying crisp white wine.
The event is always on a winter night, because that's the time of the year when oysters are at their peak flavor.
The event was first created by oyster-fanatic and overall culinary mastermind, Jon Rowley, who passed away in 2017. And although Rowley is gone, his legacy lives on in the very specific instructions he left for the picnic.
The picnic goes on, rain or (moon)shine. White wine served in crystal glasses- no plastic! A raw bar, in case you don't want to shuck for yourself. A roaring bonfire, decorated with grilling oysters. And, possibly the most important part- on the bus ride to the beach, the host must recite the Lewis Carroll poem, "The Walrus and the Carpenter". From memory. Now that's dedication!
All ticket sale funds go to the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, which works to restore marine habitats and native species in Puget Sound. They're working to restore Washington's native oyster, the Olympia.
There's something about roaming a dark beach on a cold winter night, wine glass in hand, hunting for oysters in the sand. It's a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that is unlike anything else.