I was pleased to participate in a genuine Lowcountry tradition this past week: the Oyster Roast. Oyster Season traditionally begins in the in the fall and is currently in full swing here in Charleston. Growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains it is a rare opportunity to partake in such an event which makes me grateful to have covered the Great Oysterpoint Runoff this past weekend. Sponsored by Toyota and Keen the event benefitted the Charleston Waterkeeper organization and the National Waterkeeper Alliance and was held in support of clean waterways and wastewater runoff prevention in the Charleston area. As a profssional photographer it is wonderful to be able to use my skills and resources to promote worthy causes such as this. Overall a rewarding and educational experience.
“Jonathan Swift is quoted as having said, “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster”, but evidence of oyster consumption goes back into prehistory, evidenced by oyster middens found worldwide. Oysters were an important food source in all coastal areas where they could be found, and oyster fisheries were an important industry where they were plentiful. Overfishing and pressure from diseases and pollution have sharply reduced supplies, but they remain a popular treat celebrated in oyster festivals in many cities and towns.
There are several different types of oysters that are edible out of the over 50 different kinds that are in the oceans today.” – Wikipedia
Often, offshore big game fishing in the Caribbean begins with the tool pictured above, a cast net. This net is typically four to twelve feet in diameter and similar counterparts have been used for thousands of years. Cast nets are used in a skilled fashion (such as seen below) to catch the bait needed for a day out on the water.
Virgin Fresh: An island beekeeping initiative – Images by Kathryn Wagner
This past winter I was fortuante to document an island wide beekeeping initiative on St. John. I was interested in the effort and the class because it attempts to tackle a unique problem to the islands: what can you do in a rural area with little land for agriculture? Tourism is definitely the island’s mainstay industry, but beekeeping is a small, yet unique solution, to the lack of local goods available. Bee hives do not require a large amount of land and they have a highly diversified portfolio of potential end products. Thus an interested bee farmer could have many hive on just one acre of land and host their own small industry in their backyard. The class was ten weeks long, and highly attended by many interested locals, who have gone on to begin raising their own hives. My hopes are with the many beekeepers that local honey, candles and beauty products – not to mention a new industry – will soon become available as a result of a beekeeper’s efforts.
I was lucky enough to spend a day with Josephine Roller, St. John’s premier provider of organic produce and local foods. The shoot began bright and early to accommodate her busy schedule and the morning sun. I was excited to get a taste of local farming here on the island. In contrast to my hometown of Charlottesville, local food is not as common in the island’s supermarket and just beginning to gain traction within the community.
This series is a beginning to a larger project I am working on highlighting the possibility of sourcing the majority of your food locally, within the challenging environment of an island where land is scarce and small farming not as prevalent as in the States. I want to explore the connection Virgin Islanders have with their food sources and who is providing that connection….Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!
I stopped in to the Coral Bay agricultural center this week and wanted to see what they were all about. Coral Bay is the smaller of the two towns on St. John, where a slow pace of life is paramount to many residents. The government run resource that is the Agricultural center is being utilized as class space and a garden. St John could really benefit from more of this as land is limited and thus farming cost prohibitive. I love the tropical landscape growing in abundance, and the bright colors of the agricultural center made for an interesting subject to photograph.