Marin Voice: Beginning of a new chapter for the Lunny family
Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has been an institution in Marin for nearly 100 years. First with the Johnson family, and for the last decade it has been the privilege of the Lunny family to continue that tradition.
Generations of Marin residents as well as other Northern California visitors have not only enjoyed our oysters but were able to come out to the farm, meet with our family and loyal employees, enjoy the outdoors and learn how oysters are grown and their benefit to the environment.
We provide our oysters to restaurants all over the Bay Area as part of the locally grown movement. We have been the last oyster cannery in the state of California.
Many of our 30 employees live at the farm. Some have worked here for nearly three decades. Their children have been born here, and today raise their own families here. They go to church with us. They are part of the fabric of our community.
We loved being part of the sustainable food business. We loved being good stewards of Drakes Estero. For us, the farm has been an integral part of what Marin is all about — the combination of sustainable, locally produced food while protecting the environment and maintaining the pastoral character of our community.
Oysters along with other shellfish once populated the shores of Drakes Estero, San Francisco Bay, Tomales Bay and every other bay and estuary along the California coast. All were fished out or destroyed by pollution, which is why so many environmental groups are restoring oysters here and around the world. Our farmed oysters contribute to the health of the estero by filtering and clarifying the water. As the National Academy of Sciences reported, our estero is environmentally pristine, with one of the most lush eelgrass beds and a harbor seal population that has grown and reached what experts say is its peak carrying capacity.
The health of the estero has always been critically important to us because Point Reyes is our home. We grew up here. We are fourth-generation ranchers who today raise organic beef in an environmentally friendly way, being certified Salmon Safe. We will still be here — raising our children and our cattle — after the oyster farm is gone.
The overwhelming support of our Marin neighbors has enabled us to fight to continue our legitimate presence in Point Reyes. Without your support, we couldn’t have carried on in the face of such overwhelming adversity. Our siblings and children have grown up here, gone to school and church here, and are friends with the children of our long-time workers. The next generation of Lunnys was born just a few months ago.
We are grateful to all of our Marin friends for their support, patronage, kind words and belief in us.
We never expected that so many people would stand with us during this most challenging of times. Who could have imagined that we would drive around the county through forests of hand-painted signs supporting us, made by dozens of volunteers?
We have seen that our fight for truth and transparency in science was important to so many and they were ready to speak up for us. We will always carry with us our respect and appreciation for the values our community has expressed.
Thank you to all of you who believed in us and believed in our cause. You buoyed our spirits and gave us the strength to continue.
This may be the end of Drakes Bay Oyster Co., but it is the beginning of a new chapter for the Lunny family.
Kevin Lunny is the owner/operator of Drakes Bay Oyster Co.