As Dave and I were catching up on Friday night, I looked at my hands and realized that after a long shower and a 20-minute grooming session, I still had dirt caked under my nails. Me (holding up my hands): Look at this. How can you stand it? That and I leave smelly oyster gloves by the door and my oyster boots on the stairs. You're officially married to an oyster farmer. Dave: I've been married to a farmer for months. I draw the line when the dog barfs up an oyster shell. Me: Good enough.
Between him and my cohorts, last week was a painfully funny one. Joe of Jeeves worked with us through Thursday and by Wednesday after the tide, I think I'd had my share of laughing fits. Besides picking on me for being old ("You're halfway to 62!") and for touching a dead skate ("You touched his butt! Butt hole toucher!"), they rapped, joked, culled, and swapped stories together all week. But it kept me laughing and the days flew by.
Friday, we worked a half day and then Berg, Steve (of Jeeves) and I hopped in the truck for an Island Creek field trip. Steve had found out about E&T Farms in West Barnstable which farms fish and vegetables in the same environment (called aquaponics) and he and Berg wanted to see how it's all done. We got down there and met up with Ed (the E of E&T) who gave us a quick tour. In the front of the building, he's got about 8 tanks of koi, tilapia, and bass and behind that room sits the greenhouse where he's hydroponically growing lettuces, tomatoes, squash, chard, and microgreens. The waste and water from the fish tanks is piped over to the greenhouse where the plants are grown on racks that are hooked directly up to the water source; when the fish are in their tanks, the plants need no other nutrients. The water is then collected and sent outside to a meadow of cattails that Ed says they sell wholesale. From there, the water is treated with baking soda to neutralize everything, and then it's used to refill the fish tanks and start the process again. It's a pretty incredible system and I was interested to see how much he's able to reuse and recycle his water and waste. Ed sells his fish to a few places in Boston and around the East Coast and the veggies go to Cape restaurants and a few farmer's markets down there. They also have some honey bees -- Ed has a nifty little tattoo of bees and some honeycomb on his shoulder. That's true love right there.
I didn't have my camera Friday so I can't show off Ed's place but if you're on the Cape this summer, keep an eye out for him at the markets.
I've also got some pics and stories from the B&G Oyster Invitational from Sunday - I'll get those up in the next day or so but in the meantime, check out Go Shuck an Oyster's recap.