The company we keep

I’m not in a deer blind today because I’m at a conference.

The last time I was at a conference was when I had a real job, back in the Pleistocene Era. I went to a lot of conferences then, all about computers. The breakfast table conversation was usually something along the lines of, “So who’s going to win the search engine war, Alta Vista or Google?” Remember, this was the Pleistocene Era.

The breakfast table conversation this morning was about the life cycle of a scallop, because this is a conference about aquaculture. Specifically, it’s the Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Expo, known in the trade as NACE.

Kevin and I are here meeting other growers of oysters, as well as people who grow clams, scallops, and finfish. I’m learning about how to collect spat in New Brunswick and how to raise Tilapia in Louisiana. We’re also talking to people at the state and federal level who are involved in advising and, sometimes, funding, aquaculturists.

We know some of these people already, although we don’t always recognize them when they’re not wearing waders. But this is our first brush with the aquaculture community as a community. It’s coming home to me that we’re actual, genuine oyster farmers.

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