Ask Ports Seafood’s Oyster Expert, Donny Loftis, what  matters when
sourcing the world’s best oyster, and what questions should we be asking?

When it comes to oyster quality, Donny states, “It depends on what the customer wants. If they’re a beginner, an East Coast oyster is the milder, more flavorless.” But savvy West Coasters seek the flavorful: the taste of pure ocean with hints of minerality. That ocean flavor can be readily be found in the local West Coast oysters, of which CW has in abundance.

CW/Ports Seafood typically carries 15-20 oyster varieties on any given day. “Marin Miyagis, Point Reyes Miyagis, the Humboldt Kumamoto, Marin Gems, Hammersleys, Scoocums, Fanny Maes, Cooshie, Shodokies, Fat Bastards…” Donny’s CW list seems endless.

And of the best CW has to offer: The Washington Capital Gem.

“The Capital Gems are a tumbled oyster,” Donny explains. The tumbling refers to their production method of constant jostling. “They don’t just sit in a bed. They have a deep cut, don’t break apart; just great, excellent notes of cucumber. Very clean, not too briny.”

These Gems are also known for their full meat with little room for liquor. Donny cautions to the unpredictable seasonal effects. “As we move past Easter towards Mother’s Day and closer to summer, it’s the conditions that will be key. Once it gets too hot, they lose their quality,” he cautions. “We should be okay, even if we get a hot spring. The Capital Gem is pretty immune to the spawn,” he adds.

Quality extends to the oyster source Ports Seafood buys from. He prefers the small oyster-farm mom and pops. Why? Donny explains: “When we source small, we find we get a better, more consistent oyster, We also get better reports on quality. Keeps us abreast of the conditions.”

No matter how you like your oyster, The Chefs’ Warehouse guarantees the biggest and freshest supply.