What better day for a first post than Earth Day? It occurred to me last summer, halfway through the grow season, that this is an incredibly interesting opportunity that should be shared and documented.
A little about me: I am 27, born and raised on the South Shore of Massachusetts, a proud resident of Boston, business student and full-time oyster farmer. I began oystering as a fluke, helping a friend starting their retirement project in October of 2012, but here I am 18 months later absolutely in love with these little guys and fascinated by the entire landscape of aquaculture. That fall I remember thinking that there was no way I would be sitting out on that grant during the snow, but for two winters in a row I found myself waist-deep in icy water and beard full of rime, loving every moment of it. I have no background in marine biology, nor do I make any claim to being marine bio-savvy, and graciously accept any sort of dissenting opinions, corrections, or suggestions from anyone who has taken the time to read this blog. One of the biggest things I love about oystering is the intimacy with the sea that consuming them requires, and I think that this intimacy can translate easily to a farmer-consumer relationship as well.
I am aware that the word “farm” often raises the hackles of many people, bringing to mind gratuitous application of pesticides and hormones, terrible environments and an overwhelmingly exploitative treatment of animals. I’d like to put these images to rest before we go any further with the blog. Attempting to use pesticides or any other sort of chemical on an oyster grant would be fruitless; imagine me standing on a boat dumping a barrel of chemicals into an open bay and hoping they do something. Oysters are natural filter-feeders and feed on micro-organisms, and the biggest thing that we as farmers can do to help that food supply is by having as little impact on it as possible. I guess you could call our oysters “free-range,” even though they don’t move very much (at all). Additionally, as stated, we have no intervention in their food supply. The only intervention we have in the process is in protecting them from predators when they are infants, and of course, planting them where they aren’t native. We take “all-natural” to the next level by dumping our mature oysters onto the bottom of the bay, and hoping they don’t get eaten by predators, carried off by storm currents, killed off by a disease, smothered by sediment, baked in the sun, frozen in the winter, a combination of some or all, or other surprises.
Hopefully I’ve covered the introduction. Bear with me, I am going to be figuring out what this blog is going to look like as I go. As I said, suggestions are more than welcome!