Well the last 24 hours have been pretty crazy. I posted this photo to Reddit at 8 this morning and it turned into a 2+ hour Q&A with a bunch of strangers on the Internet!
What you are looking at here is 200,000 oyster seeds, all about 2mm from hinge to lip. We are growing these in an “upweller” – I provided a diagram below – until they reach about 7mm in length over the next 6 weeks, and will then move them to the grant in the tray system that I will be introducing to the blog within the next few posts. The rest of the oysters will be delivered in the first week of July, all at 7mm, which will go straight to the grant.
In each of the cylinders in the picture (we call them silos,) anywhere between 200k and 1 million seeds will be placed at 2mm. As they grow, the oysters will become about 2 inches thick, at which point we will grade them by size and split them again. Smaller oysters don’t do well with bigger oysters, and without splitting there will be a greater occurrence of runts, stunted oysters that will never reach the 3″ that is necessary for sale in Massachusetts. If they do not reach the 3″ but we can grow them to a good weight/cup and 2.5″ then they are sold as “petites” outside of MA.
Here is the only picture I currently have of our upweller, but on Friday I will be sure to get pictures of the seed out of the bag, as well as a video of the upweller in action. The little motor on the other side of the trough is the propeller pump, which nests directly under where it is sitting and pulls water through the trough, creating suction in the discharge pipes that run into the silos, which then pulls water and nutrients through the fine-mesh screens at the bottom of each.
And thanks for the looks, Reddit!