Fruits of the sea, by mail

Finding a decent assortment of fresh oysters can be a challenge at even the best fish markets. But with just a little planning, that's not a problem. Oysters ship remarkably well, and at the website for Taylor Shellfish Farms on Puget Sound you can order your choice of Virginicas, Pacifics, Kumamotos and Olympias -- or a mix of all four -- and they'll be on your doorstep in just a couple of days. Even better, order one of their gift boxes and you'll also get an oyster knife, shucking instructions and a copy of seafood maven Jon Rowley's essay on the art of eating an oyster.

Taylor Shellfish Farms oysters; $6 to $12 a dozen; gift boxes, $29 for two dozen (six of each variety) and $48 for four dozen (12 of each). Second-day shipping to Southern California, about $15. -- Russ Parsons

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