Volunteers are learning how to shuck bivalves in preparation for the Third Annual OysterFest this weekend.
Alana Peterson, the economic development coordinator at Haa Aaní, says that she hopes attendees will be more hands-on with their food, shucking the oysters themselves.
“Shucking oysters is kind of an art. It takes a little practice, and so we didn’t want to just tell people ‘good luck, shuck your oysters,’ so we thought we’d get some volunteers trained,” she says. She says it usually takes five or six tries for people to learn the technique.
Some helpful shucking tips include: start shucking at the hinge of the oyster, make sure to sever the adductor muscles and to use a flathead screwdriver if a shucking knife isn’t available. Tapping on the oysters will help determine if they are alive, with a dead oyster producing a hollow sound.
Oysters from different farms will also shuck, and taste, slightly different.
Haa Aaní has ordered 12,000 oysters from five different farms with an extra 2,400 as backup. Last year, 9,600 oysters were consumed. The oysters come from Yakutat, Angoon, Halibut Cove and Prince of Wales. They’ve been tested for paralytic shellfish poison and other toxins.
OysterFest begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, in the Sealaska Plaza. Tickets are $12 for six and $20 for a dozen oysters.