The Last Frag Swap: 2020 New England Frag Farmer’s Market

by | Mar 25, 2020 | Corals, Events, Photography | 0 comments

Never ever in my time as a hobbyist blogger writing about aquarium-related topics have I finished, redacted, and submitted a post for publication only to throw it into [virtual] trash and start all over, but I came to a conclusion that current events reflect the need to do so. Here’s the s̶e̶c̶o̶n̶d̶ third draft. Thanks for your time.

As I am sitting here in front of my computer’s screen, sipping lukewarm coffee, distracted by the gray skies and the unnatural stillness of a usually busy street outside the south Brooklyn apartment of mine, I can’t help myself from refreshing the news page every now and then, thinking about the quickly unfolding new reality we all face as a nation and the world at large. It seems almost surreal now that only a few weeks ago I and a couple of friends and co-contributors were on our little road trip, heading to Storrs, CT for the 13th annual  New England Frag Farmer’s Market. An event that may as well cement itself as the last social gathering of the kind in the foreseeable future, one overshadowed by the tragedy of the present and the underlying uncertainty of days to come. I’m sure a lot of us are now thinking “I’m afraid of the future, how can I enjoy the present?”

I hope I can help here. In the 24h news cycle we’re currently in, let this coverage be a momentary distraction from the grim reality, a farewell to the joyful past and a mental anchor in anticipation of better times ahead. I think we all need and deserve it right now.

And the frag swap?

It was wonderful, arguably the best ever. Jon, the organizer of the event, greeted us with open arms, spoiled us with an amazing guesthouse his friend rents out to travelers, gave me backdoor access to the venue the day before, and later invited us to join him and his crew for a round of beers and hot wings in a friendly local pub. I can’t thank him enough for that.

There is a colossal amount of preparation and coordination for an event of this scale to take place and for us attendees to enjoy it fully. Jon and his team of volunteers once again did an amazing job of making it a reality. I feel extremely nostalgic when I think about it now, but it also puts a smile on my face knowing that someday, we are going to be able to do this again.

In the meantime, we ask ourselves “Where do we go from here?” With the hobby at large in jeopardy, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be generous and kind to others. Never was the phrase “shop small” more relevant than now, never was supporting local businesses more important than today. If we want the hobby to survive, it needs our help. On every level. This is our silver lining- we created a community of people of different backgrounds, different races, different political views, and we overcame those differences to build a fellowship where everyone is valued. We can use this power to do good and to help each other in these troubling times.

How? I have a few ideas, here’s one: try to share your supplies and corals instead of selling them. Better yet, sell your frags to someone who can afford them and donate profits to your local food bank

Here’s my latest harvest that I will be growing out and donating for a better cause.

Remember, we are all in this together.

Here’s one for a brighter future. Cheers! See you soon.

Thanks for reading.

Below, a short collection of pictures from the show. For the full gallery, please visit

  • Marcin Smok

    Marcin Smok is a reefer, photographer, traveler, SCUBA diver and avid DIY-er. He has been keeping freshwater fish tanks since he was 9 years old and saltwater tanks for the past 10 years. Check his photography site at and follow his Facebook profile


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