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Harvesting Under The Stars: A Night In The Life Of A Shellfish Farmer

Courtesy of Taylor Shellfish Farms
A Taylor Shellfish crewman harvests oysters on a winter night.

Almost every night in the winter, there are hundreds of farmers at work along the Washington coast. The lights of their head lamps are just barely visible on the shoreline. They are shellfish farmers out harvesting clams, oysters, and geoducks. They are up at such late hours because of the tide. That’s when it’s lowest during the winter months.

Jason Ragan is director of clam and oyster farming with Taylor Shellfish Farms. On one particularly snowy night, Ragan showed Sound Effect producer Allie Ferguson what it takes to survive these midnight harvests. They walked around oyster and clam farms on Totten Inlet near Olympia. 

This story originally aired on Jan. 14, 2017

Sound Effect producer Allie Ferguson has been making radio for nearly 5 years. She got her start at KUOW and has since traveled the country working for national news shows including WNYC's The Takeaway and NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Allie won a 2016 Gracie Award, which celebrates women in media, for her work at KUOW. She enjoys telling surprising stories about passionate people.