time: 4:30 pm
air temp: 67 F
water temp: 64 F
conditions: mostly sunny, almost summery
This country is a crazy place right now, and it's been somewhat of a comfort to dive headfirst (literally) into the growing amount of farm work that the oyster growing season brings with it. While the coronavirus resurges in places that choose to reopen, and protests for equal rights and demanding justice and a solution to police brutality happen worldwide, I have been watching on in solidarity and donating (mostly money, because free time is fleeting these days) when and where I can. It feels like we might be on the brink of real change, but only time and momentum will tell. I so hope we are.
In farm news, I got my fourth and final (for the time being) string of three moorings and floating lines set up last week, in anticipation of the arrival of my oyster seed this month. I'll be maxed out on the space I'm allowed by my limited purpose license until my pending lease application completes processing and is hopefully approved for me to expand. This process has been largely put on hold due to the fact that it requires a public hearing, and we are still not allowed to gather in groups. This hold up has been particularly tough on folks like me, who are growing a business and increasing production incrementally... I'd been planning on having a resolution to my leasing process sometime late this summer, but that has all gone out the window, meaning I'm going to be operating on a pretty crowded little farm this fall, and am going to need to get very creative with my gear arrangements to accommodate all my oysters as they take up more space. I have been on a personal mental mission, though, since pretty much the middle of April, to not allow myself the time or energy to dwell or worry on the impacts coronavirus will have on the immediate future of my operation. This bug and its effects seem very clearly to be with us for a while longer, and I am doggedly trying to just continue counting my blessings (I have SO many right now), and keep on doing what I can with what I've got for space. My farmer's markets and weekly deliveries have been so successful over the last month, I'm just going to bask in that and keep on.
And speaking of counting my blessings, this morning I drove up to Bremen to Muscongus Bay Aquaculture's hatchery facility to pick up my baby oysters for the season! 100,000 3mm of the cutest, roundest little bivalves you ever did see. This is my most favorite time of the year, because I (and you, if you follow along) get to spend the next eight weeks watching these little buggers explode with new growth and evolve from these little quinoa-looking nuggets into actual little tiny oysters. It's the coolest!
I'm trying something new this year with these babies. In previous years I've teamed up with colleagues and used an upweller in the harbor to incubate and encourage maximum growth for the first month or two. This year, I built a handful of floating nursery boxes constructed with fine mesh lids to contain these guys safely, and put them straight out on the farm. I have a good strong amount of water flow in and out over my farm site, and I am curious to see how they do without the upweller period. I'm sure I've explained it somewhere in the farm log before, but an upweller is essentially a floating nursery for wee oysters, that keeps them contained in silos below the water and constantly pumps (force feeds) seawater through the animals. We shall see how it goes... It can be tough to compare year to year, because so many factors are in constant variance, but I think at least I should get a sense pretty quickly for the comparative pace of growth. Time to watch and wait...