I thought clams were usually white. Are you on your way to a mermaid funeral?

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I'm actually a Mediterranean mussel from Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton, Washington, and I'm on my way to be sautéed with onions, garlic, basil, and tomatoes. Conveniently, tomatoes and mussels come into season simultaneously. A few good ways to cook me are detailed on the Taylor website.

What's a Mediterranean mussel doing in Puget Sound?

No one knows! As the name would suggest, we're native to Europe. It's estimated that Mediterranean mussels have lived around here for more than 150 years, so perhaps we came to find jobs in the logging industry or run waterfront gambling dens.

What is that scraggly strand of fibers coming out of your shell?

It's called a beard. It's a filament we mussels produce to fasten ourselves to underwater objects. It can easily be pulled off before I'm cooked.

You want me to pull your beard off?

Please do. Everyone has a beard right now. And beards rarely improve a sauté.

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Do I have to risk getting covered in mud, soaked in icy water, and flattened by 8,000-pound elephant seals to harvest you from the Sound?

No. Mediterranean mussels are $4.95 a pound at Taylor Shellfish's elephant-seal-free new store on Melrose Avenue. They also have oysters, clams, mussels, geoducks, and scallops to meet all of your edible mollusk needs. recommended