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Updated: Jun 14, 2019

time: 0830

air temp: 52 F

water temp: 53 F

tide: rising

conditions: overcast (STILL), calm

number of bags: 46

notes: I am so freaking tired of this weather. This spring just doesn't want to warm up, and it seems like the water temperature is following suit to that trend. I went out to the farm today to check on things, and to start thinking about tumbling this first big batch of seed from last year that I am planning on selling. My starter class of oysters, 10,000 that my family mostly consumed as soon as they were big enough, I didn't tumble just because I was still in recreational oyster growing mode. I'm not convinced yet of the efficacy of tumbling on a whole, and I've also gotten great feedback on the appearance of my oysters without tumbling thus far, which I would attribute to the high energy location of my farm (lots of tidal flow and choppy wave action when the wind is up). But in my pursuit to grow the best oyster I can possibly grow, I think I would be doing myself a disservice not to give tumbling a whirl to see what if any difference it makes. The point behind tumbling oysters (which is just like tumbling rocks), is to chip off the newest, thin and flaky shell growth that the animal puts out as it feeds during the summer and fall months. In theory, chipping this new growth back encourages the animal to develop a more desirable, deeper cup and a thicker, stronger shell that won't break when you go to shuck the oyster. So far, my oysters have grown all of these qualities all on their own, though maybe a tumble or two in their lifetime on the farm will encourage more consistency across the board.

Baby emily's oysters ready for a tumble.
If you look carefully at these oyster babies pre-tumble, you can see the flaky edge growth on some of them.

Some people spend thousands of dollars on fancy stainless steel tumblers and graders. Some spend hundreds on building their own out of sewer pipe and pvc. Because I have no money at the moment as I've been focusing all of my spare funds on setting up my retail infrastructure, and because I'm not yet sold on whether or not tumbling is a process I need to include on my farm, I'm going the $5 labor intensive route of shaking oysters by hand in a five gallon bucket. So far this has proved highly effective, and is manageable with the 50,000 smaller size seed I'm working with at the moment. It will likely be unmanageable once these guys gain another inch of growth (or it will just take a really long time), but for the time being it's what I can afford to do to keep the progress and improvement train moving forward on my farm.

I got ten out of 27 bags of seed shaken this morning, in about 4 hours, and my arms definitely will be a bit sore tomorrow. But no one has ever accused me of not being strong!

In other annoying news, we have been shut down for red tide so I won't launching farm share deliveries quite yet. But I have passed my retail facility inspection, and I'm super excited to announce that I won a really generous grant from a local foundation that is going towards helping pay for all the items the facility required... fridge, icemaker, table, construction materials, and all of the CSA goodies that I will be unveiling as soon as the program is ready to roll out! I've never been so excited and grateful.

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