One of the things I love about living in Boston is visiting Cape Cod after the high season has ended. Once the crowds have dispersed and the traffic has eased, I motor all the way up the Cape’s outstretched arm to Wellfleet, Massachusetts, to watch birds, eat shellfish and breathe the salty air.
At this time of year, it’s easier to get a sense of Wellfleet as a small town where people’s lives are still interwoven with the change of seasons and the rise and fall of tides; where a day’s work is often measured in bushels and the heart of the local economy is the simple and beautiful oyster.
On a recent visit to Wellfleet, I met shellfish farmer Barbara Austin and restaurateurs Mac and Alex Hay who are among the many people here making their livings directly from nature.
With the Conservancy and local partners restoring an oyster reef in Wellfleet Bay, I wanted to find out what the project means to the people who harvest and market this world-famous bivalve.
Conservationists are talking more and more about the benefits of our work for people — and that’s a good thing — but it’s critical that we not do all the talking. So hear it straight from the people who rely on the Wellfleet oyster and the reef’s restoration.