At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions in place worldwide, we launched a series The World Through a Lens in which photojournalists help transport you, virtually, to some of our planets most beautiful and intriguing places. This week, Randy Harris shares a collection of images from the shores of Cape Cod.
When I first met Chris Crobar, he was a half mile from the shore, on the tidal flats that stretch far out into Cape Cod Bay. It was 5 a.m., and I was out for a walk at low tide. From a distance, I saw what looked like little black sails in the water.
Chris was a spectacle: alone with his boat and table in the middle of the bay like an artist with his easel, painting a fiery sunrise. He stood there fastidiously scraping the barnacles off his oysters, then tossing them back into the cages where theyll sit for a couple of years on the floor of the bay.
Before the arrival of the Europeans, the native people of Cape Cod, the Nauset tribe, had an abundant supply of oysters. Crassostrea virginica, known as the American oyster (or the eastern, Wellfleet, Atlantic or Virginia oyster), was naturally flush in coastal areas and estuaries, where the rivers meet the sea. Oyster reefs were Americas coral reefs; oysters filtered the water some adult oysters can filter 50 gallons a day and fed a range of other sea life.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, disease, overharvesting and new technologies including developments in dredging, canning and transportation transformed Americas oyster industry. The native oyster population in Wellfleet, Mass., for example, was nearly depleted. To cope, locals began seeding the waters with young oysters imported from the Chesapeake.
In his 1881 report, Ernest Ingersoll wrote that a hundred thousand bushels of the bivalves once grew fat along the Wellfleet waterfront. Now, a little experimental propagation, of the value of a few hundred dollars, and about 6,000 bushels of bedded oysters from Virginia, worth perhaps $5,000 when sold, form the total active business.
Modern-day aquaculture has changed the game. A company called Aquacultural Research Corporation, founded around 1960, produces shellfish seed tiny juvenile oysters, also called spat and sells it to local shellfish farmers. Chris Crobar is one of those farmers. A native of Eastham, Mass., he grew up working on his fathers clam boat. Today, he sets his hours not by the clock, but by the tide. He has been raising oysters for five years on his two-acre farm in the Cape Cod Bay just beyond First Encounter Beach, the location of the first meeting between the Nauset people and the Pilgrims.
Cape Cod is as unique as its oysters. Depending on the location, the high tidal waters flush the oysters with a varying mix of freshwater and saltwater. This helps create nuanced flavors.
Wellfleet, which juts farther out into the bay, is famous throughout the world for its briny oyster. In Barnstable, Chatham and Orleans, the fresh tidal water and sweet marsh algae combine to create a sweet and earthy flavor profile. Eastham oysters are known for being both mildly briny and earthy.
Paul Wittenstein, the general manager of A.R.C., explained how the hatchery produces its seed: In midwinter, the hatchery places adult shellfish in warm water thats rich with algae, which causes the shellfish to spawn. The hatchery then catches the eggs, hatches them and grows them in their tanks until spring, when theyre moved into the A.R.C.s nursery system. From there, they continue to grow before being measured, counted and sold to farmers.
After obtaining his oyster seeds from A.R.C., Chris initially grows them in mesh bags, using the French rack-and-bag system. Later, the oysters are transferred into metal grow-out cages, where they sit on the bottom of the bay from one-and-a-half to two yearsuntil they reach 2.5 to 3 inches, to be marketed as petite or cocktail oysters, or 3 inches or more to be marketed as select oysters. (He also digs for wild razor clams and quahogs.)
Lately there has been a surge in aquaculture farming, especially with oysters. But yields can vary significantly from year to year. This past winter was mild, with little to no ice. Seed did well. Many farmers were expecting a good year. But with water temperatures increasing to over 80 degrees at high tide, both algae blooms and crashes can result, leaving the oysters with nothing to eat.
Oyster farming, in other words, has always been an unpredictable business. And the coronavirus pandemic has hit the industry hard: With fewer people dining out, farmers are sitting on their inventory. Some have feared a collapse of the market.
But Chris is more hopeful. Its important to me to be optimistic about the future, he said. For now we have to keep planting and raising shellfish, hoping that things will eventually get back to normal.
Fishermen adapt, he added, and always find a way to keep moving forward.
Randy Harris is a photographer based in New York. You can follow his work on Instagram.
- TCS World Travel Announces Dates for Its First All-Inclusive Luxury Expeditions On Ground-Breaking New Airbus A321neo Private Jet - Business Wire - October 14th, 2020
- Hacienda Tres Ros is a Strong Candidate in Three 2020 World Travel Awards Categories - PR Web - October 14th, 2020
- Peru, Bahamas and Puerto Rico Added to WTTC's Safe Travels List - TravelPulse - October 14th, 2020
- Maldives bags 8 nominations at World Travel Awards - The Edition - October 14th, 2020
- Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) And World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) Announce They Will Bring the Industry Together in Hamburg... - October 14th, 2020
- WTTC has a plan to save the travel sector - Travel Weekly - October 14th, 2020
- Short's Travel Signs with Deem to Offer An Additional Travel Booking Solution for Clients - GlobeNewswire - October 14th, 2020
- Travel insurance proposition enhanced by Zurich - ITIJ - October 14th, 2020
- The world's busiest airports -- and how far they've fallen - CNN - October 14th, 2020
- This is why travel will be better post-pandemic - Traveller - October 14th, 2020
- Is cow hugging the world's new wellness trend? - BBC News - October 14th, 2020
- Disney World attendance to stay capped; Disneyland reopening 'not much of a negotiation,' CEO says - USA TODAY - October 14th, 2020
- Author and World Traveler Illustrates Exploration of Europe and the Challenges he Faced in New Book - GlobeNewswire - October 14th, 2020
- Travel Alert: Covid-19 Cases Are Back To July Levels, And Rising Fast - Forbes - October 14th, 2020
- The traveler who spent a month working as a porter on Mount Everest - CNN - October 14th, 2020
- Expedia Modernized Operations on One of the World's Fastest-Moving IT Stacks - GlobeNewswire - October 14th, 2020
- Impact Of Covid-19 on Experiential Travels Market 2020 Industry Challenges, Business Overview and Forecast Research Study 2026 - PRnews Leader - October 14th, 2020
- How One Travel Advisor Gets Creative to Stay Engaged with Clients - Travel Market Report - October 14th, 2020
- New York City named one of world's top ten best walking cities - Travel Daily - October 14th, 2020
- Lonely Planet's new Ultimate Travel List reveals the world's unmissable travel experiences - Lonely Planet Travel News - October 8th, 2020
- President Trump positive is a red alert for World Travel and Tourism - eTurboNews | Trends | Travel News - October 8th, 2020
- 4 Travelers on Life Around the World: Women Who Travel Podcast - Cond Nast Traveler - October 8th, 2020
- The world's 10 coolest neighborhoods, according to Time Out - CNN - October 8th, 2020
- After six months, Germany eases world travel restrictions - The Tribune India - October 8th, 2020
- Travel agents wait for the world to reopen from COVID shutdowns; heres how theyre staying afloat with trave - MassLive.com - October 8th, 2020
- The world of travel is (slowly) reopening | Opinion - ECM Publishers - October 8th, 2020
- Amazon Prime's Global Child "Travel with Purpose" & Netflix's Down to Earth with Zac Efron bring hope to audiences through a new breed... - October 8th, 2020
- This hotel was named the best in Boston and among the top in the world - Boston.com - October 8th, 2020
- Is One of the Most Overtouristed Cities in the World Better Off Without Them? - Fodor's Travel - October 8th, 2020
- New Zealand passport is now the most powerful in the world; India secures 58th position - Happytrips - October 8th, 2020
- Big plans from Small Luxury Hotels of the World - Travel Weekly - October 3rd, 2020
- Trending News: Customized travel Market Overview and Forecast Report 2020-2026 Top players: TCS World Travel, DuVine Cycling & Adventure Co,... - October 3rd, 2020
- Australia-New Zealand travel bubble to partially open within two weeks - The Guardian - October 3rd, 2020
- Ski, Party, Seed a Pandemic: The Travel Rules That Let Covid-19 Take Flight - The New York Times - October 3rd, 2020
- Which Countries Did Worse In The Deadly Summer Of Tourism? - Forbes - October 3rd, 2020
- New WTTC Campaign Highlights Social Benefits of Travel & Tourism - Hotel Business - October 3rd, 2020
- Worlds Best Islands: Why Portugals Terceira Belongs On Your Travel Wish List - Forbes - October 3rd, 2020
- When Star Wars Rebels brought back Mortis and introduced time travel [Jabba the Pod 3.13] - SYFY WIRE - October 3rd, 2020
- Dream Vacations Lift and Shifts National Conference Aboard Celebrity Apex to 2021; This Years Conference will be Virtual - Franchising.com - October 3rd, 2020
- Tratok and Hotel Data Cloud Sign Agreement to Restart Travel Industry Through Blockchain Powered Technology and Artificial Intelligence Enabled... - October 3rd, 2020
- How You Can Help Animal Shelters Around the World During COVID - Fodor's Travel - October 3rd, 2020
- Panama is reopening to tourists from all countries in October - Lonely Planet Travel News - October 3rd, 2020
- Travel-Awards.Org to Host the Virtual Conference World Travel Summit 2020, Under the Theme "Travel - In The New Normal" - PRNewswire - September 4th, 2020
- Phillys Four Seasons Spa Was Just Named One of the Best in the World - Philadelphia magazine - September 4th, 2020
- Attend a Live, Interactive Virtual Oktoberfest Celebration This Year - TravelPulse - September 4th, 2020
- So you had a terrible vacation. Whose fault is that: The airline's? The hotel's? Or yours? - USA TODAY - September 4th, 2020
- It's a new world of travel in MLS for the Galaxy and LAFC - Los Angeles Times - September 4th, 2020
- Staycationers are saving hotels and Airbnb from covid-19 - The Economist - September 4th, 2020
- Cerabino: In world of COVID-19 precautions, it's Florida, not Canada, that should be advocating solo sex - Palm Beach Post - September 4th, 2020
- LCCs the right model for post-Covid world; recovery is not near, but out of creative destruction may emerge new entities - Web In Travel - September 4th, 2020
- Thailand managed 101 days without local coronavirus cases. Will it open borders soon? - CNN - September 4th, 2020
- Travel The World From Your Living Room With The New Technogym Bike - Forbes - September 4th, 2020
- Africa Travel Week focuses on creating opportunities for the industry this Tourism Month - Travel Daily News International - September 4th, 2020
- Villas of Distinction offers white-label partnerships to Travel Agencies - Travel Daily News International - September 4th, 2020
- Cruise Ships Are the Cleanest Travel Environments - TravelPulse - September 4th, 2020
- World Travel Awards 2020: The Best New Luxury Hotels And Resorts In Europe - Forbes - September 2nd, 2020
- Move Over, Sustainable Travel. Regenerative Travel Has Arrived. - The New York Times - September 2nd, 2020
- Travel COVID Safe Accreditation Group Launches The Most Rigorous Three-Point Inspection Health Certification For The Travel And Tourism Industry - PR... - September 2nd, 2020
- Louis Vuitton Parfums Explores Out of This World Travel With New "Mtore" Fragrance - HYPEBEAST - September 2nd, 2020
- Letters to the editor Sept. 2, 2020 | Letters To Editor - goskagit.com - September 2nd, 2020
- 6 numbers to know about the greatest short courses in the world - Golf.com - September 2nd, 2020
- Mike Fox introduces a travel book narrating his wife's treatment for Parkinson's disease in Italy - GlobeNewswire - September 2nd, 2020
- Column: Reflections of columns and world travel - Current in Carmel - August 24th, 2020
- Aretha Franklin memorialized with section of Lodge Freeway - The Detroit News - August 24th, 2020
- Roaming Through Lanzarotes Otherworldly Vineyards - The New York Times - August 24th, 2020
- Shares in Accor and IHG rise on merger speculation a combination would create the worlds biggest hotel group - MarketWatch - August 24th, 2020
- Japan to open world's second 'Making of Harry Potter' attraction - CNN - August 24th, 2020
- The Japanese village that cooks in a hot spring - BBC News - August 24th, 2020
- Bulgaria: Wild majesty in one of Europe's oldest countries - CNN - August 24th, 2020
- Ernest White II launched a travel show during the pandemic. He says its message is more relevant now than ever - San Francisco Chronicle - August 24th, 2020
- Travel - Why are the Dutch so tall? - BBC News - August 24th, 2020
- How COVID-19 could affect business travel and the aviation industry - World Economic Forum - August 24th, 2020
- Tourism in 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Signs of Recovery Within the Domestic Tourism Sector - PRNewswire - August 24th, 2020
- In China, Where the Coronavirus Pandemic Began, Life Is Starting to Look Normal - The New York Times - August 24th, 2020
- Here are the Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 Mid-Atlantic Finalists - WashingtonExec - August 24th, 2020
- Opinion/McCord: Reflections of a privileged white traveler - Seacoastonline.com - August 24th, 2020
- Fans crowd into an indoor concert in experiment on how to return to normality - CNN - August 24th, 2020
- Covid robs tourism by the billion - TTR Weekly - August 24th, 2020
- WebBeds world's top bed bank post-COVID? That's the Webjet plan - Travel Trends - August 24th, 2020
- Germany issues travel warning for Paris and Cote d'Azur as it happened - The Guardian - August 24th, 2020