time: 7:00 pm air temp: 46 F
water temp: 44 F (!) tide: -1.6' conditions: calm number of bags: 51
What crazy times we are living in these days. I feel as though I am still trying to wrap my head around what our world and lives have morphed into, even though it's been so many weeks now since this all began. I feel incredibly lucky that my friends, family and customers are well, and that my work and the farm can carry on more or less as usual, that I can safely stay busy and occupied while so many others are cannot.
The ocean water has warmed quickly over the last weeks, to the point where oysters are likely starting to think about coming out of their winter slumber to resume pumping sea water and eating once again. This being the case, I have been grabbing whatever windows of decent weather and low tides I can to get out to the farm and start re-rigging my lines and hauling my crop up from the depths to the surface once again. This is a back-breaking process, made more challenging this year by a lingering (and oddly unrelated) back injury that I sustained doing something way less impressive. So I've been doing the farm raising in stages, and trying to stretch and rest as much as possible. I'm still working out of a smaller boat this time of year, as my dock and larger boat are still getting prepped for the season, so its been a bit of an awkward process, but has gone smoothly thus far. I've been happy to find my oysters, both big and small, largely alive and well and undisturbed in their winter bottom cages - always a cause for celebration.
I'm always happy when things go according to the plans that I cook up for myself in my head, and this farm evolution so far has happened perfectly. I'm still working frantically at home to get gear fixed up and ready for the season, and the next stage (hopefully with the bigger boat in the water) will be to start transporting the rest of the gear out to my site so that the oysters can be further spread out in preparation for new growth. It sure feels good to have things floating again, and while the work list is suddenly huge now that the oysters are up, I'm again feeling grateful that I can keep operating at all. The oysters sure don't care about the economy or public health crisis, so farm work carries on!
Among the list of things I'm feeling grateful for during these uncertain times falls MY CUSTOMERS, both old and new. The incredible outpouring of support for my business and for many other local farms and fisheries workers has been tremendous and inspiring to watch and be a part of. I always thought that we Mainers were particularly good at supporting our own and buying locally, since we have such an abundance of high quality fresh stuff available and near by. But this crisis seems to have taken awareness of local resources to a whole new level, and I just think it has been really cool to witness people seeking out of food producers in person during this time. I hope that the desire to buy from lobstermen, farmers and aquaculturists directly remains a lasting theme after all this blows over, because how cool is it to know exactly when and where your food came from? And, to know that when you buy directly from the grower/catcher, you are actually fully supporting the person who worked to bring it to your table, often at a more affordable price, without a large cut of the money you spend on it going to someone who just bought and resold that product? Just some thoughts I'm having while observing the market adaptations going on around me. It's bringing me incredible joy to deliver oysters to folks right now, and I hope that the outpouring of support for local food continues and helps to see us through this pandemic and on to brighter times.