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Fresh oysters from the sea to your palate, along with several other seafood dishes, are served up daily by members of the only Women’s Cooperative in Puerto Peñasco at the Morua Estuary.
After turning south at Km 7 off the Puerto Peñasco – Caborca highway, make your way to the cooperative’s “El Barco” restaurant and oyster farm, where cooperative members extract hundreds of oysters daily. Curiously, “El Barco” takes its name after the legend of a boat loaded with gold and other precious metals that was raided by pirates and left to sink, and finally got stranded in this estuary.
The Women’s Cooperative, made up of Rosario Luna Javalera, Maria Esther Tanori Zepeda, Patricia Tanori Zepeda and Inocencia Ramos Zapata, along with four workers, run the restaurant themselves as well as “seed”, supervise, and then collect the oysters.
The entire process is a delicate operation, demanding a lot of patience because of the time it takes for the oysters to mature. Oyster “seeds” are first placed in very fine nets inside a trap called “muerto”, which remains at the bottom of the estuary and can remain there anywhere between ten months to a year so the oysters can mature. Though the oysters can take over a year to develop, once doused in lime and a dab of salsa they disappear in seconds to the delight of diners seated under the palapa right on the estuary.
Yet, oysters aren’t the only item on the menu, as the cooperative also serves up ceviche, tostadas, aguachile, quesadillas, and the traditional buttered oysters prepared with celery, cilantro, tomato, and cheese, definitely a tourist favorite. This is valuable in making sure the cooperative remains strong even at times when a ban on oyster production may be in effect (such as earlier this year).
So, if you are coming to Puerto Peñasco and want a little escape from town, take in the unique beach setting as you watch your food be brought straight from the water at the Women’s Cooperative at Morua Estuary!