This week is my favorite week, every year. It's not always the same exact week, but sometime around the end of May/beginning of June I start to anticipate the call from the hatchery announcing that my oyster seed for the year is ready.
Every year I add a new batch of little tiny baby oysters into the mix to ensure a continuous supply of harvestable oysters as time rolls along, and they are just too cute not to share and celebrate every year. At 3mm, these little ones require some special gear and care to make sure that they adjust to the farm environment and water temp without undue stress. They will live and grow for the first month or two inside special nursery boxes with fine mesh to make sure they stay contained and secure and safe from predators. Once big enough to be graduated into the smallest mesh size bag I have, they will get upgraded, and boy are they fun to watch grow!
I'm seeding about 50% more this year than I have the past two years, so I'm also trying to anticipate and stay ahead of the increased gear needs that these little guys will start to quickly demand from me. This means making sure that all the other oysters on the farm are efficiently stocked, and buying and building more mesh bags when I can find the shoreside time for it. If there's any one thing I've been consistent about over the past six years of doing this work, it's been drastically underestimating my gear and space needs! Hopefully this year I can prove to myself that I have finally learned how to properly project those needs forward and prepare for them.
There's been lots of other upkeep happening as well, tending to fouling on the bags that have been deployed since April with rounds of air drying, and lots and lots of culling through the bigger oysters to meet the increased demand of my new farmer's market schedule this year. The season has been a whirlwind so far, but an especially rewarding one! My systems are coming together nicely, the weather has been slow to warm up but nice for working in spite of the temperature.