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Shina Wysocki is vice president of Chelsea Farms and co-owner of Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar in Olympia, Washington. But she’s also a storyteller. “I romance the oyster,” she says with a smile. “I get to tell the story.”

 

Shina’s story began a stone’s throw away on the shores of Eld Inlet, where her parents started Chelsea Farms in 1987. Their dream was to sustainably grow oysters and saltwater clams called geoducks (pronounced “gooey ducks”). Shellfish farmers care about sustainability and clean water by nature, Shina explains, because pollution can harm young shellfish.

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Shina worked her family farm as a child but always dreamed of owning a restaurant. When she and her brother opened Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar, they designed it to feel like an extension of the farm – open, airy and comfortable. “We wanted it to have date night appeal,” Shina says, “but also to feel like I could go there in my rubber boots.” And she often does.

 

Their signature oyster, the Chelsea Gem, is grown in a “tide tumbler” that Shina’s father invented to harness the power of the tide. Because Chelsea Gems never touch the beach, their flavor is mild, buttery and sweet.

 

Shina loves talking with customers about where and how her oysters are grown. But what does she most want people to know? “That shellfish was eaten here by the settlers, by the tribes,” she says. “It’s part of who we are. And if we maintain the water quality, we can keep doing that for generations.”

A second-generation shellfish farmer, Shina takes her oysters directly from farm to table, showcasing them at her oyster bar. She has a passion for connecting people to locally grown, sustainably sourced food.

A second-generation shellfish farmer, Shina takes her oysters directly from farm to table, showcasing them at her oyster bar. She has a passion for connecting people to locally grown, sustainably sourced food.