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Sunday, May 26, 2013
A Visit to Drake's Bay Oyster Farm, Epicenter of a California Food Fight
By Robert Thomas @ 5:19 PM :: 3078 Views

A Visit To Drake's Bay Oyster Farm, Epicenter Of A California Food Fight

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation.com

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When we originally posted about Drake's Bay Oyster Co. v. Salazar, No. 13-15227, an appeal now awaiting the Ninth Circuit's ruling (oral argument video here, key briefs here), we knew further research on the issue was in order, perhaps by making a site visit. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to do just that, and ascertain for ourselves whether there's room in the environmental community for what appears to be a pretty "green" business. As some of you know, I've been waylaid for the past few weeks, and it was the first day in many that I felt up to taking a field trip.

So off to Drake's Bay it was. Following are some photos, as well as a short video showing the processing line, and a longer video with background on the issues. 

Here is our initial post on the case with the complaint, and our follow up (about one of the amicus briefs filed by parties with impeccable environmental credentials). For a more personal side to this story, read this op-ed in today's Marin Independent Journal by one of the farm's long-time employees.

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The small farm is tucked into a corner of one of the fingers of Drake's Estero.

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The operation is pretty modest: a landing for the boat, a processing line, a retail counter, and a couple of residences.

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View towards the mouth of the Estero.
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Baskets of harvested oysters.

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Bird's-eye view of the Estero and beyond, from Mt. Vision Road.

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The road to Pt. Reyes is lined with these signs.

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The irony. Unfortunately, a bridge en route to the farm now bears "environmental" graffiti as well.

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Here's a short video of the processing line. The only sound you hear is the wind, which is pretty loud. We lowered the volume on this video about 90%, which gives you an idea of the actual volume. High-definition video here.

The Framing of an Oyster Farm - Drake's Bay Oyster Company from A Visual Record on Vimeo.

An excellent video linked from the Oysterzone blog
(which also has posted all of the legal briefs in this case).

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