Mariculture—sustainably growing shellfish or seaweed—is a relatively small industry in Alaska when compared to commercial fishing, but it’s one with significant growth potential. Through a “farm-to-table” effort, Alaska Sea Grant is working to boost local economies by connecting Alaskans to our mariculture farmers during the COVID-19 crisis, while at the same time promoting Alaskans’ health and wellbeing through access to healthy, locally-sourced Alaskan seafood.
As part of the Alaska Shellfish and Seaweed Growers Project, we’re highlighting various mariculture crops from around the state with a “Meet Your Alaskan Farmer” video series. In this first installment, you’ll meet one of Alaska’s 60 mariculture farmers, Meta Mesdag from Juneau, Alaska, who recently started Salty Lady Seafood Company. Meta shares her experience as an oyster farmer in Alaska, and takes us through the process, from growing oysters from spat to delivering them to customers.
Meta grew up near Portland, Oregon, and her husband is from Juneau. They met during college, and in 2012 moved to Juneau with their two young sons, welcoming a daughter shortly afterward. After years of running a portrait photography business in Oregon and Juneau, she decided to try something new, and in 2018 started her oyster farm.
Salty Lady Seafood is truly a family business. Her kids spend summers and spare time during the school year helping on the farm, learning where their food comes from, and, Meta hopes, helping build something in which they too can feel a sense of ownership. For details on how to connect with shellfish and seaweed farmers and distributors around the state, visit our farm-to-table mariculture directory and follow the Alaska Shellfish and Seaweed Growers Project on Facebook.