What The Pandemic Has Done to WA’s Flagship Shellfish Industry

Evie Fagergren grew up on Calm Cove Oyster Co., her family’s shellfish farm on Totten Inlet in Mason County. She accompanied her father on restaurant deliveries in Seattle since she was 4. She and her parents grow clams in the summer and oysters in the fall, winter and spring. 

“The restaurant market is so unpredictable,” she says. Fagergren sells to the larger Hama Hama Oyster Co. After months of uncertainty on whether restaurants would be open in the pandemic, Fagergren says she was advised to harvest oysters early while there seems to be a market. 

The Fagergrens haven’t suffered financially yet, but that makes them an outlier among small shellfish growing operations: They don’t have employees, and didn’t have to lay anyone off. They had a natural break in their growing seasons that seemed to time with the pandemic. 

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