Oyster farm closure could lead to higher prices

The pending closure of the largest oyster farm on the Marin County coast could lead to higher prices for shellfish and force grocery stores and restaurants to seek new suppliers.

Five remaining Point Reyes-area oyster farms are poised to capitalize on the looming departure of Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which was ordered last week to close within 90 days.

But devotees of the briny delicacies expressed unhappiness Wednesday at the prospect of losing a major North Coast supplier.

Carlo Cavallo, executive chef and owner of Meritage in Sonoma, said the coming shutdown, ordered by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, will force him to fly in oysters from Oregon and Washington.

"Let the boys at the secretary's office and the Obama administration calculate the carbon footprint on that," said Cavallo, who like many restaurateurs serves hundreds of Drakes Bay oysters each week. "I'm furious about it."

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