When I compared a Totten Inlet Virginica (left), a Galveston Bay select (middle) and an Apalachicola oyster (right), I had to agree that the Totten Inlet oyster from Washington was the sweetest and saltiest of the three. Jon Rowley, the Washington State seafood marketing guru who masterminded the Copper River salmon craze, helped Taylor Shellfish develop the Totten Inlet Virginica. It's the same species of oyster we have in the Gulf, grown in a special oyster bed on the West Coast.
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Rowley calls the TIV "arguably the best oyster in the world." If you want to check out his claim or a holiday oyster shindig and you don't mind shelling out $40 for the experience, you can buy a box by mail order. Meanwhile, check out this article by Peter Meehan on the new "it" oyster in the NYT food blog Grass Fed.