Ride The Flavour (en)

Feedback on two weeks in an oyster farm

Jan. 11th | 0 comments

As we told you, from 15th to 28th of december , we worked in an oyster farm. The situation is simple: during these two weeks, oyster farmers play with almost all their annual business sales. We got hired in Mr Patrick DUZON’s farm, located near Marennes (middle of the Atlantic coast). About fifteen people work there during the whole year… but to provide the needed supply for christmas feast (in France, people love eating oysters for christmas), almost 100 seasonal workers give them a hand.

We were part of these workers. And this “we” do not mean only Ride The Flavour team, Damien and Leo. Two friends of us, Elise and Anne, also came to provide additional support. Every morning, we were four friends hitting the oyster road, direction Marennes.

Here is our story…

Petits boulots : ostréiculteur

If we thought that it would be tough, we had never imagined how hard this work could be. Between the 15th and 28th, we worked 130 hours. If we do not count the only day off we had (25th), these 130 hours are spread on 12 days. We worked on average 10,8 hours a day, with few days over 13 working hours.

Exemple of our hardest day : we worked from 8:00am to 1:15pm and 2pm to 10:30pm… Do the math!

And if we add the 50 minutes to get there, 50 minutes to get back home, and the time to prepare the picnic for the next day, our days were very long… and the nights quite short. Our life was oyster 🙂

But what did we do? we packed the oysters crates: oysters come (already sorted by size) on a conveyor belt, we pick them and fill the crates (knowing that the oysters must be put in a proper order). At the end of the chain, to check the amount of oysters, crates are weighted (for exemple, we know that above 2kg, a crate contains at least 18 oysters). Then we ring the crates and put them on a palette.

Our body stood the test. As we were standing all day long and ceaselessly carrying crates, our back first suffered, but then pulled itself together and strengthened, so that the oysters even became scared of it! Our mental state was more in danger: we worked a lot, slept a little, our fatigue was growing days after days and, even with this erosion, we had to stand up to this repetitive job. That was the big challenge.

It was both a physical and mental hardship… AND WE RESISTED!

But even if the job itself was not funny, we were in the best possible conditions.

The boss, Patrick DUZON, who tells off anyone not doing his job in the right way, is actually a fundamentally good man who lives for his passion: oysters. You can understand that he wants the job well done! Thanks for his welcome, and for this tasty wine which closed the season! We also have special thoughts to Sylvie, whose jokes made our job more joyful; to Michelle, who gave us every heart-shaped oysters that she saw. And, we did not see her many times but she was there when everything started: thanks to Aurélie DUZON, who hired us for the adventure!

Elise and Anne, it was a true pleasure to be with you, you brought the feminine touch that brightened up our group! You can keep cursing us for having invited you, we still thank you 😉

Finally, thanks to Denis and Odile, Damien’s parents, for the logistic and moral support that lit up our tired faces after a hard day’s work.

This episode is now over, and we said good bye with small savings. Small savings that we keep to write another one, another episode, about of a world tour by bike. Step by step, the departure day is coming!

There is one sure thing: we will keep this experience in oyster-farming in our mind for a long, a very long time…

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