Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I just found these prints after a long time. This was a great trip to Penn Cove Shellfish a few years ago when I was still at Frontera Grill. I had come out to the Northwest for a visit and made my way to coupeville to check out the shellfish farm and see how one runs.
It was pretty awesome to see these guys pulling strands of mussels out of the water. They are brought on board and 'de-bearded' by what looks like a huge Norelco shaver. I found out that the shaver for mussels and the shaver for grandpa's was invented by the same guy and just uses a little bigger scale for pulling brushy beards off mussels. From a couple of the shots you can see that there are floats set out from the coastline in deeper colder water, the ropes hanging from the rafts supply a place for the little spermies and the egg to lite upon and get to growin some mussels. Each one is hundreds of pounds.
In the same fashion, Oysters are gathered from around the puget sound and B.C. and kept hanging in the cold water until their loaded onto trucks and delivered daily all over the country. At the time we were getting out Oysters overnighted to us in Chicago! The shipping on those little puppies was ridiculous, but if you love oysters you expect nothing less than fresh, as it should be.
I particularly remember this day because it was the first time my brother, mother and I had seen each other together in the same spot in more than 5 years and neither of them had ever had an oyster. My mother was driving north to Alaska from Arizona where she was wintered and my brother hitched a ride with her just to catch up with me for the day. It was awesome jumping into a skiff just like back home and taking off across the water on an adventure. My brother tried and oyster and 'didn't hate it' my mother and i slurped a few fresh from the water. At the end of the day my mother continued north to Alaska in her purple pickup truck with Orion painted on the cab, my brother headed east to his dad's and I got back on a plane and headed back to Chicago. It was one of those moments where the greater magnatism of family beats the volumes of geography that come between you.

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