HAPPY 2019 oyster lovers!
sea foam farming
the big chill
a primer on oyster seed production
Growing an oyster hatchery, pt. 1
sea foam farming - january 14
An interesting day on the Saquish lease
This is not snow - it’s frozen sea foam that’s deep and heavy. Joe, who manages the Saquish lease, was through this last year, and knew exactly what we had to do to extract over 800 pounds of Aunt Dotty’s. It took four trips: thought that I was going to DIE!! Truth be told, I sat out the last run - my excuse being someone had to record this epic effort ;-)
THE BIG CHILL - january 21
It was too cold to work on this particular day, but not cold enough for a few pictures :-)
Island Creek employs pitting this time of year. Skip and Mark watch the forecast constantly - every morning and every night - and when it looks like it's going to be 20 degrees or below for four nights in a row with a whole lot of wind, it's time. Ice and wind means mangled gear and oysters scattered all over the bottom. It's not an issue of oysters per se (Island Creek's survive our winters on the bottom). It's the Row 34's, Aunt Dotty's, and thousands of pieces of gear that would be at risk; therefore, every last one of those little sweeties - in the hundreds of thousands - are placed in root cellars on campus and over at Saquish for a winter's nap in cool damp, root cellars. As far as I know, growers have been pitting oysters since the 1800's (Henry David Thorough observed and wrote about pitting in his book "Cape Cod").
When the first big tides in March or April roll around Favorable temperatures matter), the oysters will come back out of their cellars and return to ICO's grants.
These pitted oysters are alive and well in the root cellar, however dormant.
growing an oyster hatchery, pt. 1
Although they much prefer the hatchery-side of the business, this crew is as much farmers as the farmers are! While the hatchery’s been under construction, they’ve worked alongside us out on the bay - working the same hours, the same routines, the same weather - whenever additional support was needed. Their passion runs deep, and their positivity is infectious :-) …
Out with the old
Last July, Island Creek’s hatchery closed-shop at its former location on the Maritime School’s campus. Every single piece of gear and equipment was from there to Island Creek’s new facility. It was a painstaking process for the hatchery crew that continued through the early fall. They did it all.
In with the new
Construction had to start somewhere, and everybody pitched in. The new hatchery building formerly served as a science lab for Battelle, a global research and development organization, researching marine life sciences here in little ‘ol Duxbury Massachusetts. Battelle sold the 11 acre property, including buildings and facilities to Island Creek in 2017. Battelle’s former research building was completely gutted last fall; construction commenced in December.
Putting Things Together
Growing microalgae - oyster food - for the new hatchery
“Broodstock oysters (above and below) are adult oysters (2–3 years old). Male and female oysters are fooled into thinking it’s springtime, because of the temperature-controlled tanks they’re in. They are fed the algae that is grown here,