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Ironically, oysters in coastal areas are frequently of lower quality than the oysters shipped farther inland. With today's refridgerated trucks, markets in Nebraska can have live oysters 36-48 hours after they're harvested.

You should shop at a busy fish counter to be confident that the oysters haven't been sitting out for long. Sniff the oysters to be sure they smell like the sea. Fishy smells mean contamination. The shells should shut tightly when you tap them. If they stay open, the oysters are dead. Always let them breathe by storing them in the fridge in an open tupperware container or bowl with wet paper towels over them. This should keep them alive until supper time.
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