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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

06/20/2016 - The Washington State Feature - Jamestown Seafood and Wines of Washington

Slow Living Radio pays tribute to Washington State this week and is delighted to welcome on Kurt and Terri Grinnell, owners of Jamestown Seafood who have opened a new oyster farm on Sequim Bay. Here their inspirational story and all about the life of an oyster. We also get the lowdown on their other seafood, the prized Geoduck. Fascinating.

What are oysters without wine?  We invited Heather Bradshow from Washington State Wine to bring us an understanding of this wonderful wine region.

Kurt and Terri Grinnell
Jamestown Seafood

New Oyster Farm launched Washington

Keeping watch
over the bay
Washington’s oyster selections have a new player on the block.  The farm, owned and operated by Jamestown Seafood, is nestled in the pristine Sequim Bay (pronounced Squim) at the entrance to Puget Sound. The project, a partnership with the Jamestown S’Kallam tribe, is exciting chefs around the nation, bringing a distinctive and exciting new addition to the state’s oyster offerings.

Sequim Bay is unique. Having tides that are replenishing more frequently than most, the water brings a regular dose of fresh clean food for the oysters, allowing faster growth and wonderful flavors.  Also, being the first bay on the sound, there is little urban run-off creating an environment perfect for raising sustainable, clean and delicious seafood.

Kurt and Terri

President and owner, Kurt Grinnell, and his wife, Business Manager and owner, Terri, are no strangers to the world of fishing. Kurt began fishing at the age of 16 in a family business, getting a strong immersion in all aspects of the industry. Also, being a member of Jamestown’s S’Kallam tribe whose history dates back over 10,000 years, and whose survival relied heavily on the local oysters, geoduck clams and other seafood, you could say it was in his blood way before that.  Terri, born and raised in the area, and an accountant by background, welcomed the chance to embrace the industry of her hometown, and get outdoors.  She also loves her role as “official taster”

After school in Kansas, Kurt majored in Psychology at the University of Washington, but the lure of fishing stole him away to Alaska where he trolled for sockeye, halibut, King salmon and crab.  His next fishing career was diving for urchin, abalone and sea cucumber, but not wanting a life diving, he decided to return to Sequim Bay and broker Geoduckclams, native to the Pacific Northwest.  He still farms the clams, most of the unusual molluscs going to the Chinese market where they are highly prized.

The Geoduck clam is buried in the sand, it's long syphon "neck"
sucking in water which it filter for nutrients, then spouts out
the discarded water. The Geoduck can life up to 140 years.

 At the time, the S’Kallam tribe was struggling with their oyster industry, which began in 1991 when the tribe were officially recognized and able to obtain fishing rights for the area.   Seeing they needed help, Kurt saw this as a new opportunity, secured a 12 year lease on the farm and three years ago began his career in oyster farming.

Kurt turns oyster that are Beach Farmed

“The waters were so clean, and food production unsurpassed”, recalls Kurt as he made his decision, feeling there was really a terrific and unique product he could offer the oyster lovers world. 

Kurt and the hatchery manager at Point Whitney
look over some young oysters

Jamestown Seafood Oyster production begins at the company owned hatchery, embracing scientifically regulated and meticulously managed spawning and seed grow out procedures. Maintaining a watchful eye on their oyster beds throughout the maturation process, they enjoy harvests that are commercially viable, sustainable, consistent, and abundant.

The third stage of life for the oyster before being "beached",
the flupsy, where clean fresh water is kept running through
the oysters to keep the best and freshest food supply.


Oysters in the flupsy

Kurt and Terri live nearby Port Angeles, where, when they can find some spare time like to enjoy the outdoors, riding their Harleys, camping and skiing. They have two daughters, Jaden who traded in being a star on the National Shotgun team for a life in commercial fishing in Alaska with her husband, and Loni, who holds a Masters in Behavioral Health and works with the state and local tribes.

Currently two varieties of oyster are on the menu at Jamestown Seafood. They are both the local Pacific Oyster, but farmed using two different methods.
Sequim Bay Jades - Beach Farmed which means the oysters are grown directly on the sandy floor of Sequim Bay. They are silky smooth, displaying tantalizing mineral notes coupled with unmistakable brine, subtle sweetness and a fresh cucumber finish. They are clean, bright and provoke fond memories of the beach.

A platter of Sequim Bay oysters

Sequim Bay Blue Opals - Tumble farmed, where they are allowed to tumble with the tides in large nets. These little gems have a distinctive, bowl shaped shell. They are plump, juicy and succulent, display a clean ocean flavor accompanied by subtle sweetness and buttery texture. On the finish, there are hints of melon that make this oyster truly memorable and thoroughly enjoyable.

Kurt and Geoduck
later making it to Terri's ceviche
See below for Sally's oyster spring roll recipe

Heather Bradshaw
Communications Director
It was 200 years ago that pioneering explorers Meriweather Lewis and William Clark traversed the amazing terrain of Washington State. The same vistas that captivated them then, remain today, but modern explorers discover something the early visitors never witnessed: Washington State is one of the world’s most dynamic wine regions.
W a s h i n g t o n  S t a t e  i s  d i v e r s e

 There are more than 40 grape varieties cultivated, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. And with 13 unique growing regions, Washington State  is a mosaic of landscapes, from evergreen coasts and snow-capped mountains to a vast sagebrush desert where the sun shines 300 days a year. Diversity is a part of the culture and the wine industry ties creative people from different backgrounds and several countries around the world.

Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley AVA.

Photo Credit: Washington State Wine courtesy of Andréa Johnson Photography

W a s h i n g t o n  S t a t e  i s  a m b i t i o u s

Home to global giants Microsoft, Starbucks, Costco and Amazon, Washington State is a place of tremendous vision and drive. Their wine industry reflects this. Innovative growers and winemakers broke ground in a vast, wild territory where conventional wisdom said they could not. And they have expanded that work to create America’s second-largest wine region, with more than 50,000 acres (20,234 hectares) of vines and more than 850 wineries.


Leonetti/Loess Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley AVA

Photo Credit: Washington State Wine courtesy of Andréa Johnson Photography
W a s h i n g t o n  S t a t e  i s  g e n u i n e

Washington winemakers and grape growers live and work in small towns  where old homes, beautiful barns and converted mills reflect the American west. They are active in their communities, connected to the land and eager to share their stories. When stopped in a tasting room, the person you see walking in the vineyard, driving a forklift or opening bottles behind the counter is often  the owner or winemaker. And their wines echo this authenticity - rare natural conditions permit cultivation without the common, manipulative practice of vine grafting or intensive use of chemicals. They harvest the purest expression possible for every wine.

Celilo Vineyard, Columbia Gorge AVA

Photo Credit: Washington State Wine courtesy of Andréa Johnson Photography

 W a s h i n g t o n  S t a t e  i s  i n t e g r a t e d

Because vineyards and wineries here are often spread across hundreds of miles, grape growers and vintners must work in tandem. From individual vine rows reserved for specific winemakers to fully-fledged joint-ownership projects, the region is one of shared endeavors. And the wines exhibit that spirit of integration, combining the vibrant fruit character expected of American wine with the defined structure typical of the Old World.


Photo Alan Benson, Australia - from Fresh and Healthy by Sally James

An unusual way to prepare oysters, the moist plump and briny Jamestown mollusc actually works wonderfully in these mini spring rolls, contrasting with the crisp wrapper and hot sweet dipping sauce.

Makes 20 mini spring rolls

2 tablespoons finely grated ginger

2 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or green onion

1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice

5 sheets spring roll pastry or 20 won ton wraps

20 freshly shucked oysters

Peanut or canola oil, for brushing

Dipping sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1tablespoon lime or lemon juice
2 teaspoons palm (or regular) sugar
1-2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce, to taste

 Preheat oven to 350°C, 175°F

Whisk the dipping sauce ingredients together in small bowl to dissolve sugar and set aside. 

Combine the ginger, coriander, chives and juice in a small bowl.  Lay out a sheet of spring roll wrap and cut into 4 or lay out a won ton wrap.  (Keep the remainder of the pastry, covered, under a clean damp tea towel while working to prevent drying out.) Place an oyster on the centre of each and top with a little of the ginger mixture.  Brush edges with water and wrap as for a spring roll.  Place, seam side down, on a lightly oiled or lined baking tray and brush lightly with oil.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. 

Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.



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