In an uncertain year like 2020 the energy and fulfillment that the direct sales project brought to our farm was so welcome. We had never done direct sales before, and suddenly there were individual customers waiting! Our shellfish went fresh from farm to person.
And with that came a renewed joy and enthusiasm for the work.
On those extra difficult days when I arrived at the farm with rain drumming on the roof of the truck, I would admittedly sit in the vehicle a bit longer than necessary, just resisting the bone chilling wet to come. But then a ping would come through on my phone indicating another oyster order had come through, and suddenly it was easy to pop out into the crescendo of rain pounding the evergreen boughs.
With our oysters being hauled up from the cold depths the morning we sell them we kept a close eye on the weather forecast, and especially the wind. We don’t have any system to hold them in off farm. While this means that the oysters are extremely fresh and clean, it also meant that we are at the mercy of the weather for harvest – which, over the winter, can be tricky. Somehow the winds played in our favor, or at least weren’t so terrible we couldn’t wrestle the oysters up, but still there were many a night spent listening to blows wondering if this would finally be the day we couldn’t get to the oysters.
Luck with the weather
Overall, we were quite lucky with the weather on sales days. There were only a couple of days with any real nasty cold or wet. One of which was the snowstorm which landed squarely on our specially planned Valentine’s Day weekend sales, and understandably we had a handful of customers who couldn’t make it out in the slippery conditions. So, we ended up with some extra clams and learned that ten pounds of clams in one chowder is amazing! Three to four clams per spoonful – now that’s a Northwest dinner.
These direct sales could never have happened without the support of our family and friends, and for them we are grateful. Both of Van and I’s parents were more than generous in helping with watching our son Wayne, and our friends were there both to listen to ideas and support the shellfish Thursdays.
And we felt we made lots of new friends too! It was the best getting to know new shellfish fans. I was also stunned how many folks found us through Instagram – I had always thought of this as a platform to just share about our farm (and get a little creative), but suddenly it was creating true and real connection. In a time like this, where connection is challenging, I really appreciate these social media (now in life) relationships.
With our first go around of direct to consumer at a close, we look forward to April when we plan on being on Lake Union once a month for direct off the boat sales. In the meantime, we’ll be working on various farm maintenance projects, and the less exciting routine paperwork side of things (hello tax season!).
Your oyster farmer,