Dawn is breaking. The view of boats in slips outside our spacious, airy balcony at Marina Bay remind us we are in a place where working on the sea is the lifeblood of the land. (Photo above of Marina at Marina Bay Hotel, Chincoteague, Virginia)
Sherry and I had an amazing dinner last night at Don's Seafood with Josh Chapman and his wife Jenna, co-founders of Black Narrows Brewing company and Tommy Clark who owns the restaurant and nearby Tom's Cove Aqua Farms. The amazing Sara Barban, of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism office, was there and the six of us had a lively conversation about the
local economy, nature and history of this precious spot on the eastern shore.
Tom harvested the Chincoteague oysters we ate at dinner. These nutrient miracles of the sea are known to be particularly salty. The freshness of the local sea washed over our taste buds. The conversation was warm and lively. We were not able to imbibe the Black Narrows beer, as the brewery does not launch till next month. Both Josh and Jenna were excited and nervous, to be expected of entrepreneurs at the precipice of manifesting a dream. All of our dinner guests are passionate people who combine doing business and earning a living with a sense of mission to live life honestly without prioritizing profit over people, community and planet.
Painting at Marina Bay
We learned that Black Narrows buys the hops to make beer locally and the hop waste from brewing the beer is hauled to Perennial Roots Farm to feed animals. We are meeting Stewart and Natalie, the owners of this biodynamic farm, later today and are excited to hear more about what they do.
United States of Green will be reporting more extensively on our Chincoteague visit when we return from the trip. What we have learned so far is that working land and aqua farmers, brewers, restaurateurs, contractors and the other local workers who service the mostly tourist economy are the backbone of towns like Chincoteague. And they all know, despite differences, they need to work together to survive in our fast changing world.
Of note, there are development forces, tourism and large scale poultry operations, pushing their way onto this precious land between the ocean and Chesapeake Bay. Conservation groups attempting to preserve the nature of the area need to make sure that protection efforts include supporting local businesses. Land and aqua farming done on a sustainable scale by local residents needs to continue to be encouraged, enabling the local economy can thrive and co-exist with the natural landscape.
Marina Bay Pool and Marina
We are excited to visit Perennial Roots farm later and experience another colorful strand in the fabric of this local passionate community. I have no doubt that some of the food from Perennial Roots will end up at Don's Seafood, and that soon diners at Don's Seafood will soon be sipping the new Black Narrows Beer . The brewery uses a creative mix of local ingredients and flavors and the pints to come will go down well with the fresh seafood Tommy Clark brings to the restaurant from his oyster beds in Tom's Cove.
Thank You Chincoteague!
Copyright Paul E McGinniss 2017
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