Science Writer, Washington Sea Grant
David is the author of the definitive book on the history of the Pacific Northwest oyster industry, "Heaven on the Half Shell: The Story of the Northwest's Love Affair with the Oyster" Westwiinds Press; 2003. His other work includes "The Eat a Bug Cookbook" Ten Speed Press 1998 and "The Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane" Sasquatch Books 2010
Oysterman, Tillamook Bay
Jesse's grandfather, also named Jesse, started the first commercial oyster business in Tillamook Bay. Jesse says: "I had 5 uncles, my father and my grandfather, all in the oyster business. I had always vowed that if it ever came to me I was not going to have a processing, opening facility at all . I was just going to grow oysters and harvest them and take them all in the shell, without processing them, from the bay to the customer." And these days, that's exactly what he does.
Cultural Resources Program, Coquille Indian Tribe
Don was born and raised in the Coos Bay area. He is a member of the Coquille (pronounced Ko-KWEL) Indian Tribe and has worked many years to help investigate, interpret and protect archeological sites and cultural places on Oregon's south coast.
Oysterman, Coos Bay
Larry's father, Al, came out from the Midwest during the Depression years. After learning the oyster business at Washington's Willapa Bay, he moved the family to the less-crowded Coos Bay. Larry says: "Growing oysters is like nothing else because, ah, you actually do the planning, you do the growing, you do the harvesting, you do the processing, and you did the selling. That seems to be the way that oystering is."
Larry's father wrote a book about his experiences: Blood on the Halfshell. by Al Qualman, Bonford and Mort, 1982
Research Scientist, South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Steve works largely in the places where freshwater meets saltwater, where commercial activities confront ecological needs, and where non-native and native species come together. He is actively involved in efforts to reintroduce native (Olympia) oysters to the Coos Bay area.
Author/historian Sydney is the great-granddaughter of Robert Hamilton Espy, the co-founder of Oysterville, Washington. She lives in one of Oysterville's oldest houses where she blogs and writes about local history. "Oysterville" by Sydney Stevens, Arcadia Publishing, 2010
Wachsmuth Family Historian
With 19th-century roots in the Shoalwater/Willapa Bay oyster trade, the Wachsmuths are probably Portland's longest-reigning oyster family. Tucker grew up working at Dan and Louis Oyster Bar and at Yaquina Bay's Oregon Oyster Farms (which the Wachsmuths owned at one time.)
Oysterman, Willapa (Shoalwater) Bay
Dobby's grandfather, Heinrich Wiegardt, came to Shoalwater Bay in the 1870's. The Wiegardt family has stayed in the oyster business since then, even during the early 20th-Century crash, when most other oystermen quit. Now in their fourth and fifth generations of oystering, the Wiegardts are one of the oldest, continuously-operating oyster families in the country. Dobby's son Mark and Mark's wife Sue - who each appear briefly in our program - own and operate the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Netarts Bay.
Oysterman, Yaquina Bay
Call "Lou" by his co-workers, Xin Liu came to the U.S. in 1992 from China. He had worked as a college fisheries professor back home, but continued his studies here at Oregon State University. While doing research at Oregon Oyster Farms, the business went on the market, and Liu and two partners bought it. Oregon Oyster Farms now sells many oysters to Asian countries, where customers generally prefer the biggest-size oysters available.
© 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting.