Sara's great grandparents, Bob an avid scuba diver and Trudy a school teacher, stumbled upon the Hood Canal in the late 1940's and immediately felt a connection with the area. Nestled between the majestic Olympic mountains and the crystal clear canal waters, the land was what fantasies were made of. The picturesque landscape inspired dreams of building a base camp from which people could explore the great outdoors, and in 1951 that is exactly what they set out to do.
The young family purchased the waterfront property which already had wild oysters on the beach and began construction immediately, naming the resort after their soon to be born baby boy Mike, Sara's dad.
Mike's Beach Resort quickly gained a reputation amongst the scuba diving community with people coming from all over the world to see the magnificent giant pacific octopus native to the Hood Canal. They also made a name for themselves in the gastro-tourism circuit with their fresh U-Pick oyster beach available to guests. The old world camp charm appealed to people wanting to connect with nature and have an experience with the great outdoors, and word rapidly spread. Within the first few years Mike's quickly became a family tradition, guests from all walks of life gracing the resort with joy and laughter.
Sara's dad Mike grew up at the resort and still operates it to this day, alongside her mom, brother, herself, their spouses and children. A true family run business, going on four generations. Though the world looks quite different than it did in the 1950's, with what seems like an ever increasing pace of life, Mike's essence has never changed and in many ways seems more relevant today than ever. A space where time seems to slow down enough for people to truly connect with each other and nature all the while making memories sure to last a lifetime.
Matthew and Sara met in Seattle, Washington in 2011. Sara was at her going away party and Matthew, on a short 4-day vacation visiting friends in the emerald city. Sara was 27 years old, had graduated from the UW and been working as a marketing professional in Seattle for a few years before deciding to embark on a solo backpacking trip through Europe. She wanted to travel before settling down. Matthew, originally from California, had been working as a firefighter in Arizona for over a decade.
Sara can't help but giggle when recalling the irony of meeting her future husband at her big going away party, what was supposed to be the beginning of a chapter of independence, you know, young wild and free ended up being quite the opposite. Their meeting was a classic love at first sight scenario and they have been pretty much inseparable ever since. They ended up backpacking and bouncing from here to there for a few years before deciding to get married and settle down close to Sara's family in the Pacific Northwest.
Upon their return, Matthew and Sara worked at the family business, Mikes Beach Resort, for a couple of years. They worked alongside the rest of the family tending to the business, which included managing the U-Pick shellfish beach open to guests of the resort.
In 2016, their little family was about to grow, they found out that they were expecting their first child, a baby boy. It was then that the idea of farming came about as a means to explore new avenues and ultimately keep the family on-site. Thus Olympic Oyster Co. was born, an amazing labor of love which has allowed them to earn an honest living and provide a quality product by farming small, transparently and with lots of love. Oysters had always been a part of Mikes Beach Resort but Olympic Oyster Co. set out to spread the word and share the fruits of their pristine waters with their extended community.
Matthew would work the cold night tides harvesting then in the morning fill his truck with oysters and head into the city while Sara stayed home with their newborn navigating the administrative part of the business.
Many doors were closed in the beginning due to their lack of name recognition but soon enough the product began to speak for itself and in no time Olympic Oyster Co. began to be featured on many local menus. Blessed with a warm reception, these two have forged on and continue to grow, learn and flow with their farm. Olympic Oyster Co., a real life labor of love.