On an early spring morning at low tide, Kathleen Nisbet-Moncy hops out of the small boat as it nears a tide flat near the mouth of Cedar River in Washington’s Willapa Bay.
Even at seven months pregnant, the second-generation oyster farmer easily sloshes through the mud in waders, stopping every now and then to point out a cluster of glistening oyster shells nestled among the eelgrass.
“We hand pick all of these,” Nisbet-Moncy said as she holds up a craggy shell. Just ahead are bushels of oysters collected by workers earlier that morning, that now sit alongside the river waiting for pick-up.
Nisbet-Moncy runs Goose Point Oysters in Bay Center, Washington, alongside her father, Dave Nisbet, who founded the family operation in 1975. Over time their farm in Willapa Bay has grown from 10 acres of tideland to a 1,900-acre farm with a state-of-the-art processing plant.
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