I wrote a long feature for this week's paper on the fight over the future of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, a small, family-owned oyster farm in Marin that happens to be on federally protected land. The case was heard in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Tuesday, and it's unknown if the farm's operating days are numbered. We captured so many great photos from our day in the oyster boat with the crew that we made a slideshow of the oyster-harvesting process.
First, we took the boat out to a barge where fledgling oysters no bigger on a fingernail were growing on old shells attached to wire racks (oysters start life as floating microscopic spat and like to attach themselves to old shells to begin to mature -- it's an indication that the area has been good for their kind in the past). We then scooted over to the middle of the estuary and the old-fashioned wooden oyster scaffolding that the company has been using for years. Workers draped the U-shaped wire racks over the wood planks to get the oysters in the water, and then harvested some oysters that had been growing for months.
It was cold, wet work -- and that was a "warm" day because there wasn't much wind -- and it gave us new respect for the life of an oyster farmer.