Marshall sliced off the tail section from the farmer's fish, placed it in a Styrofoam hot dog container, and microwaved it for two minutes. As the farmer looked on with apprehension, Marshall raised a steaming forkful of the fish to his nose and inhaled, nodded with approval, and then took a bite. "It's on flavor," Marshall said, telling me that he had tasted fish from this particular farm three times already. He handed me a piece. "We're always looking for that mild, nutty, buttery-type flavor." The unseasoned fish had a mild, neutral flavor and aroma. If he'd detected the faintest smell of wet dirt, algae, or decaying leaves, the fish from this batch would not have been deemed ready for harvest. Relieved, the farmer unloaded his truck, some 2,850 pounds of sleek channel cats, and drove home with a payday of $2,565.