Two boats are operating through the winter out of Little Allen’s Harbor, and crushing the workload just like we thought they would. With the Innovator going out for the daily oyster haul, and the Thomas Royal taking care of the mussel farming end of things we are truly seeing the advantages of our larger fleet.
Through the Fall the Innovator crew was sorting out market oysters from returns to mitigate the losses we experienced in previous winters due to dormant oysters stressed by cold temperatures. Now when we get an oyster order from the good people at American Mussel Harvesters its as simple as; a sunrise boat cruise on the beautiful Narragansett Bay, hook into a line, grab the sets, dump them and cruise home. Besides the cold wind and weather this is the best time to be on the bay because there are only a couple of diehards out there, clam diggers or oyster farmers, or nobody at all. Glassy water, peaceful clear days, and crisp clean oysters.
Having the Innovator to do the oyster harvest frees up the Thomas Royal for the mussel operation which requires more equipment, essentially the entirety of the deck is taken up by machinery and gear. In the past it took several hours to set up and breakdown this equipment every time we got an oyster order and made the whole operation a lot less fluid. Now fluidity is our best friend.
The motto for mussel farming is “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”, a phrase adapted from our salmon fishing friends in Alaska. It really comes into play because if we can keep the reseeding process going, and the equipment going at a slow pace it ends up being so much faster than the alternative; starting fast, messing up, fixing the problem, going fast again, messing up… I think you can see the pattern, Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
The winter is going well for the most part, as I write this there is no snow on the ground, the temperatures are above freezing, and that makes me happy. When I publish it I’m sure our luck will change. Either way we are set up to deal with it. Another advantage to having the Innovator running is the pad where all the oyster processing was always done is now freed up to use for various other winter projects. Building whatever new toys we will be testing out next season, and preventative maintenance on our old toys that got used and abused last season.
So all is well at Salt Water Farms, and American Mussel Harvesters. We are farming two different sites in Narragansett Bay and bringing the oysters in fresh to meet the growing demand of our faithful customer base. We proudly provide shellfish fresh from the rocky shores of New England to anywhere in North America and have been doing so for the past 30 years. We support local fishermen, local families, women in the workplace, diversity in the workplace, domestic food production, food security, green industry, shellfish aquaculture, and making a living on the water.