...the more we seem to have. We've spent the last five days on the tide planting a lot of our seed by hand with the no-fail "fertilizer" method (we walk the bags from the cages to the lease and shake them out one by one to cover the ground evenly).
The seed is almost up to 1.5-2 inches in length but still feels brittle in the bags. Once we get it out onto the floor, the shells immediately start to toughen up. Now that they have space to grow and aren't fighting for nutrients nearly as much, they'll really start to pop. By the time the cold water hits them later in November, they'll be bigger and ready to sleep for the winter.
The plan is to get everything planted in the next few weeks so that we can get all of our gear out of the water and settle in for winter. It's been a good run with some late tides on Friday and Saturday nights. The crew can get a little cranky at the start of long days like those but everyone's been in good spirits. Plus, we've had the farm's old friend Meggie working with us all week -- she's actually getting ready to move out to Chicago and take a job in the kitchen at Alinea so we're happy to have her before she goes.
Finally, with Oyster Fest behind us and the seed nearly planted, fall has arrived. Good thing since Tuesday was the first official day of it. Funny, I've never paid close attention to the beginnings and ends of seasons but these last few months have given me a new respect for them. It's not just being outside in the weather. It's feeling the cycle shift from one point to the next and reacting to it accordingly. My body has gone from the rigid, achy soreness of a hectic summer to a more relaxed, looser pose. I can breathe a little more easily. My back's not nearly as tight and my arms and hands are finally able to stretch out and feel good. No, I'm not wimping out (shaking the seed is a ridiculous arm and shoulder workout) but I do feel like winter will be here soon and we can all take a big sigh.
The other good news is that we'll be showing up with our raw bar at events around town now that we have more time. First stop: The FB Fashion Week Kickoff Party tomorrow night. We did an event at Rialto last week where Michelle Bernstein of Michy's in Miami came up to cook with Jody Adams. They started the meal with a reception where we found our oysters topped with popcorn (!) and aji amarillo.
We're also about to hit the sweet spot for oysters. Once the water temps drop, the oysters that are ready to be harvested get really fat and juicy. Definitely the best time of year to eat them... and there will be lots of opps to get out there and eat them on us, including my personal fave, Eat Your Heart Out Boston. Stay tuned.