I oyster therefore I am
You're Just Too Good to be True
Every day on the bay is an epiphany: some are brutal reminders of the frailty of man, some are of the genius of Nature. Farming the bay, husbanding its creatures, along with my family, are innate to our species. Bringing healthy delicacies to the tables of New York, while watching my children grow into adults, makes any Wall Street bonus pale and hollow.
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Deep in the perfume of the sedge-meadows, Jason Stulsky stands in his skiff. Silhouetted against a winter sky, in the back of Southold’s Mill Creek, he bull-rakes clams. Jason has pulled ‘the stupid stick’ since he was legal age for a digger’s permit, 14. Nineteen years now, he has … Continue reading
Two weeks ago, we began acquiring oyster seed at 2mm. The size of a grain of sand, it’s called spat. We buy from several nearby hatcheries, in case one has a poor set and cannot supply us with the requested amount.
The … Continue reading
This time of year, before the algae bloom obscures the water and begin feeding the oysters, we set off in our skiff to scour our oyster plot for sunken cages. Most of them, their buoys are submerged because a storm tumbled the cage and the buoy line wrapped around the cage. … Continue reading
We’ve attended two board meetings in the last 8 days regarding our dock application. At the work session last week, members of the board asked me about my already permitted upwellers in Widow’s Hole. After first noting that the upwellers were not on the permit under discussion, I told … Continue reading
Our family oyster farm is under attack. Twelve days ago, we had a public hearing for a major, 175 foot dock expansion on the east side of my property and a minor repair to my existing three docks in Widow’s Hole on the west side of our place. … Continue reading
Awoke at 4:30 to the prenumbra of dawn. Dressed quickly. Isabel made coffee and we took it on the boat along with a box of frozen squid and a bag of frozen spearing. By 5, Isabel had a line in the water. By the time I had my … Continue reading
All last Fall, while harvesting and selling oysters into the city, we saved our best looking, fastest growing, thickest shelled animals. Around New Years, I gave them to the Cornell Hatchery here in Southold to breed. For two months, the conditioned them, that is, they kept them at … Continue reading
10 million oyster eggs on a 27 micron screen
We sold out of market-sized oysters last week. With a fine dust of snow on the ground, we have a few months to repair damage from the hurricane and get ready for spring. I’ve ordered 2mm seed from a couple of hatcheries and am spawning my best growers at … Continue reading