Ever wondered how much 100,000 baby oysters weigh? Well, I can tell you. 752 grams, a little over a pound and a half.
Our 100,000 came yesterday, from Mook Sea Farms, in Maine. They’re shipped overnight in a styrofoam cooler, wrapped in a handiwipe. Each oyster is about two millimeters, and they make a pile about the size of a brick. They look like quinoa.
We put them on the kitchen table, and divided them into fifteen little piles, each pile to go in one mesh bag. I’ve never been a cocaine dealer, but I think it must be a lot like this. We made our little piles, and then carefully transferred a few oysters from the bigger piles to the smaller until they looked about equal.
Then we carefully scooped up each pile and transferred it to a bag, being careful not to lose a single oyster. When we were finished, we shook each handiwipe into a bag, and checked the table for any strays. We cinched each bag, and added a zip tie for good measure. If a bag opens, 7500 oysters will make a break for freedom.
Each of those oysters, now the size of the head of a pin, should reach market size some time next season, or the season after that, if growing conditions are bad. It’s odd to think that something that looks for all the world like a grain of sand is actually an animal.
When all 100,000 were bagged, Kevin and our friend Dave, who’s visiting from Vermont, put them on the boat and took them out to the grant. That’s where they are now, contentedly filtering algae and plankton that are even smaller than they are.
We’ll go out in a couple of days and check on them. If all’s going well, the bags will get a little clogged with feces and pseudofeces, and we’ll have to shake them up to clear the mesh. If all’s going really well, we’ll see a little white ridge on the edge of their shells, the first sign of new growth. They won’t weigh 752 grams for long.