A colossal specimen plucked straight from the Totten Inlet at a Walrus and Carpenter picnic last year.

 One of the highlights of an otherwise rather dull Top Chef episode last week: The chefs’ field trip to Taylor Shellfish Farms up in Bow. Plucking oysters straight from the beach is a magical experience that can only be attained in a few parts of the country. Hence the annual Walrus and Carpenter picnic (no relation to the restaurant) has become a wintry tradition around here, a way to share in this experience minus the logistics and plus lots of wine.

This year, Taylor and organizer/shellfish whisperer Jon Rowley have partnered with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund to put on the picnics. Getting the details nailed down took slightly longer than usual, so tickets only recently went on sale for the season’s first outing. It’s happening January 8. The second one is February 7. Tickets are $125 a person and includes all the oysters, shucking lessons, and beverages you’d like, plus transport in the oyster bus, which departs from Elliott’s at 6:30 sharp. The late hour is by design; the combination of ice-cold waters and low tide yields the optimal oyster-eating experience. Yes, you will be tired at work the next morning. And it’s completely worth it.