Are you one of those folks who enjoys shopping? How about shopping on Black Friday? I must say, I can't relate. There must be a shopping gene that I didn't get. I hate to shop, and the thought of going to a store on the Friday after Thanksgiving, with all those crowds (personal space, please!) and parking issues... I realize that for some of you, it's exciting. For me, it's like a nightmare.
So I love what REI started last year on Black Friday. They decided to close their stores and online shopping, and pay their employees to go outside for the day. It was so popular that it has become somewhat of a movement, and here in California, the State Parks actually gave away a bunch of free passes for this event this year. I was too late, and didn't get one in time, but that isn't going to stop us from getting outdoors.
We have a tour planned at Hog Island Oyster Farm in Marshall, which is on Tomales Bay in Marin County, north of San Francisco. Here we will tour the farm, learn how oysters are grown, have an oyster shucking lesson, and a tasting. We will probably be doing this in the rain, and though of course no Californian would ever complain about rain, it might be a little uncomfortable. Well, it should be educational and tasty regardless.
Now, my dad is a champion shucker, having shucked oysters many times a year in our old home in Maryland. I have memories of us going to the Chesapeake Bay docks early on a Saturday morning, and picking up oysters or crabs from the fishermen. Apparently I used to eat oysters as fast as my dad could shuck them. Mom still makes oyster stuffing for Thanksgiving every year and it's easily our favorite item on the menu. (OK, maybe not for Tom or Kate.)
I, however, have maybe shucked half a dozen oysters in my life, and it's been a long time since I did that. So I'm looking forward to that lesson. But I'm looking forward even more to the tasting! Oysters here are a little different than those from the Chesapeake or Washington State, and of course these particular oysters will be farmed, not wild. I think farmed fish is here to stay; what with climate change, and the way ocean life is being decimated with unusual temperatures, we need to figure out how to sustainably farm fish, replicating how it's done in the wild as closely as possible. This is going to be a challenge, and I'm anxious to hear how this farm is accomplishing this. Climate change is also going to require that we eat less of the fish that is extremely popular, and more of what's available locally. So, our tastebuds are going to have to change.
Anyway, while we're in Tomales Bay (which is quite a drive from here, though a pretty one, through farmland and hills out to towards the Pacific), we'll likely seek some more outdoor time, either at a beach, or hiking. It will depend on how hard it's raining, I suppose. I also am looking into tours at the Point Reyes Cheese Company (because, cheese) and the Heidrdun Meadery, which has bees and gardens, of course, to make honey for their mead. We also have a birthday celebration planned (for Adam and my mother) at a restaurant in Point Reyes Station, called Osteria Stellina, where they serve mostly produce, meat, and fish from the local farms. My brother and his fiancee will be here as well, which is a real treat.
So our plans are set. But perhaps yours aren't? Here are some resources to get you outside on Black (GREEN!) Friday:
REI has a wonderful interactive map to help you find an outdoor activity on Friday. HERE'S the link. This works anywhere in the US.
If you live in CA, there are still some free passes for state parks. Find that HERE.
I'd love to hear more about what YOU have planned for your Friday, so please share in the comments!