Tide to Table Profiles: Chelsea Farms
Chelsea Farms is a shellfish grower located in Olympia, Washington.
Chelsea Farms is a family-owned aquaculture business that raises oysters, clams, and geoduck (a type of large saltwater clam). Their specialty oysters include the Chelsea Gem and Bonita as well as the Olympia Oyster, a native species that the farm has made great strides in reintroducing.
A Focus on Sustainability
Since 1987, the Lentz family has farmed shellfish with a special focus on stewardship of the South Sound and the greater Pacific Northwest. Like on other shellfish farms, these oysters and clams filter out pollutants and provide habitat benefits for smaller animals. Chelsea Farms’ shellfish create a sustainable source of seafood while providing beneficial ecosystem services in the waters of the South Sound.
From Farm to Table
In addition to shipping fresh shellfish to markets across the United States, Chelsea Farms also owns and operates the Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar in downtown Olympia. Oyster raw bars are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. and serve as a great place for those interested in shellfish to learn about the aquaculture industry and the different taste profiles found in shellfish.
Geoducks take around five years to grow to market size, but can live for over 100 years.
Recipe: Clams a la Shina
- 5 pounds Manila clams
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 pound Italian sausage (chicken or pork)
- 1 pound mushrooms (preferably Chanterelles), cleaned and sliced
- 1 bunch of kale stems, removed and torn to pieces
- 1 can of dry hard apple cider
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- Rinse clams in a large colander, remove any clams that do not close when touched. They should not smell of anything but the sea.
- Heat a large, thick-bottomed pot with olive oil. Sauté the garlic in the oil until lightly browned; then add the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks.
- When the sausage is nearly done, add mushrooms and cook until softened.
- Add the clams to the sausage and mushrooms, pour in the can of cider, and cover for four minutes. Then stir and add kale to the pot. Cover again, stirring and cooking until all the clams are open.
- Serve with crusty bread and topped with parmesan cheese.
To learn more about Chelsea Farms and other Washington sustainable shellfish farms, visit their website and the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA) website.
Sustainable Seafood from Tide to Table
The Tide to Table series profiles members of the aquaculture community, who provide valuable jobs and increase access to fresh, sustainably sourced American seafood. Aquaculture is about more than seafood production. It is about ecosystem stewardship, coastal communities, and economic opportunities.