Hi, I'm Emily, SeaEO of Salinity!

Pictured: Emily Wilder holding a ceramic mug shaped like a geoduck clam. Get the mug here!

 

Hello! My name is Emily Wilder and I'm an oyster-lover born and raised on beautiful Whidbey Island in northwest Washington State. Growing up on Whidbey Island and in the Pacific Northwest instills certain values: a love of salt water and fresh air, a connection with nature and native food, a commitment to a green planet, a strong sense of community, and a determination to fight for equal rights for all people, plants, and animals. Salinity was started to bring these values to life.

SALINITY {suh-lin-i-tee} refers to the level of dissolved mineral salts found in water or soil. #GettingSalty is also slang for getting "uppity" or trying to pick a fight with words. Climate change is happening. It's going to kill people, and our favorite foods. It's time to fight back! 70% of emissions are caused by corporations and 30% by individuals. We can all do our part by speaking up and changing our actions bit by bit, drop by drop.

Talk to your friends about sustainable food. Ask the businesses you buy from to pay their workers fairly. Post on social media about reusable containers. Tell a neighbor about a delicious way you learned to cook seaweed. These are all examples of microinfluencers at work. Microinfluencers -- people with a very small sphere of influence -- have been used very successfully by many corporations. Let's use those peer-to-peer networks to spread hope about positive actions we can take!

Alone, our individual actions (like reusing, recycling, purchasing sustainably, and speaking up about climate change) are like tiny drops of water. Together, they can make tidal waves!

As a child I was pescatarian (eating fish but no meat), and we were lucky to eat wild Alaskan salmon every week with our homegrown organic vegetables. As a teenager I was introduce to sustainable meat, and I got hooked on the food itself and the message behind it. I'm omnivorous now, and enjoy all the odd gooey bits that animals and plants have to offer us.

I remember going digging for geoduck clams on a local beach when I was eight, and the incredible sweet chewiness of barbecued geoduck that evening. But it wasn't until I was at undergrad at The Evergreen State College (mascot: geoduck) that I had my first oyster. It changed my life!

Following that moment on the Evergreen beach, I was sucked into running the educational oyster farm the edge of Evergreen's 1,000-acre forest. While earning my BA in Sustainable Food and Agriculture, I led students to the beach every two weeks at low tide (midnight in the fall and winter!) for work parties and all-you-can-eat oysters. Midnight on the beach with fresh oysters is a pretty incredible experience to be able to provide to others!

I threw my heart and soul into The Evergreen State College and sustainable food, joining the student government, serving as the governor-appointed Student Trustee on the college's Board of Trustees, and helping to organize the Real Food Challenge (RFC) chapter on campus. Thanks to the resources and national-mobilization of RFC, we were able to shift 29% of Evergreen's on-campus food purchasing to sources that were fair trade, local, humane, or ecologically-sound. I also got to help put on delicious, impactful events like this.

While at Evergreen, I volunteered to serve as Vice Chair of Olympia's chapter of Slow Food. I loved organizing our farm-to-table fundraising dinners, and increasing education about and access to "good, clean and fair food" with our other initiatives. Read the article from Washington Hospitality Association about me and my last event with Slow Food here.

After spending a year managing of a locally-sourced, Latin-inspired restaurant in Olympia, I moved near Boston, MA to go to business school at Bentley University. Two years later with an MBA under my grandma's hand-me-down vintage belt, coached by career advisors on corporate interview tactics and salary negotiation, and prepped to make $$$, and what do I choose for my first job? Tour Guide.

I spent a summer at Island Creek Oysters's Hatchery in Duxbury, MA (on the way to Cape Cod) teaching people about baby oysters and microaglae. I wasn't interested in the money I could get working for a big corporation -- I wanted to help small businesses and my favorite shellfish succeed. But East Coast oyster farmers aren't allowed to grow my favorite oyster, the West Coast native Olympia oyster, so after a few months feigning interest in the Virginica oyster (sorry, y'all!) it was time for me to come home to Oly!

I moved back to Olympia, WA and took a job with Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton, Washington for their national direct-to-chef program. When the pandemic shut down the restaurants and I was switched to chatbot and phone duties for retail customers, I started itching for adventure. I moved back to my home island and decided I'd take a deep dive and create my dream business.

Salinity was created with the Olympia oyster and the geoduck clam as the king and queen. Which is the queen, which is the king? Could be either. Both creatures could be male or female and you wouldn't know from looking at them -- plus the oyster is a "sequential hermaphrodite" and actually changes its gender a few times during its life!

There are many goals with this business, but boosting the notoriety of these two under-appreciated PNW natives is paramount. The rest of the items in this shop are things that you might want to buy with them, or that you'll buy before you then share this link with your friend who actually likes to eat oysters and weird phallic clams.

I am committed to sustainably delivering delicious groceries to your home or business. I plan to expand Salinity's positive impacts in future years with a physical shop on Whidbey Island, collaborations with like-minded friends & neighbors, and educational food programs for all. Join Salinity in future seasons for sea-to-table dinners with visiting chefs, scenic catered island tours, catering & hosting for delicious events, music/food festivals, and so much more! I hope you’ll be my friend in some way, shape, or form.

Thank you, so so much, for your time and attention today. I would love to hear from you, if you feel like saying hi to yourfriends@salinityseafood.com!

xoxo,
Salinity SeaEO & Owner Emily Wilder @geoduckgal

Co-founder Sam Mitchell is no longer an owner, but continues to supply Salinity with delicious wild Alaska salmon through his business Sam's Salmon Sales. Find his products online, at Whidbey and Seattle farmers markets, and grocery stores throughout Puget Sound!

Person silhouette on beach at low tide