I normally use this spot to just yammer a bit about being married to my Fisherman…. and all the stuff that goes with it. But, I thought I’d take a minute to answer some very common questions we hear at the Market. In doing so, I hope to clear up some misconceptions but also to shed a little light on exactly how that tasty fillet gets on your plate.
1. Do you really catch this fish yourself?
~ Yes. And no.
My husband Chris and his deckhand go out on our own boat and fish seasonally, all year. His main focuses are: Halibut, White Sea Bass and Swordfish. Depending on the season, he also lands Angel, Thresher and Mako Shark, Blue Fin, Albacore, Opah, Spider, Rock and Ca King Crabs, Sole and a few other species that I’m sure I am forgetting because right now my kids are fighting and I can’t think straight. So yeah, most of our products we catch ourselves.
The no part: Although we land a gorgeous array of fresh fish, and are so proud to be able to offer it to you guys, one of our goals has always been to be sure our customers have as much freedom of choice in their fresh seafood as possible, without compromising our very high standards for freshness. This is a hard balance when you are dealing with seasonal products that are by nature, easily ruined if not handled properly. So for example, we are not Shrimpers. But who doesn’t love a buttery sauteed Shrimp along side a lovely pasta? Chris is working on his 33rd year of complete and total immersion in the Commercial Fishing/purveying/eating/providing of fish industry. And y’all gotta hear me when I say ‘total immersion’. This man lives-breathes-eats-sleeps all things ‘fish’. Like, seriously. I think of it like this: If I ‘needed’ an expert on a sweet little new diamond ring to commemorate my 15th wedding anniversary, which by the way, for planning purposes, is 10 short months away, I’d probably make a bee-line for experts (you know the ones with the little blue boxes?) as opposed to ordering something online from practicallyreallookingrocksrus.com, right? In the same way, I’m thinking it would be a really smart idea to hang out with Capt Chris at Fresh Fish Fanatics if I was planning to plate up a to-die-for seafood dinner as opposed to let’s say… roaming, dazed through the local paper towel/laundry soap/wine/socks/diapers pallet sized crate store. With Chris, you get the resident expert who uses those years of experience and career long industry relationships to get his hands on only the very top of line, freshest fish available. Plus, he doesn’t mind telling you some cooking secrets while you’re there. Hmmmm…. now I’m sorry we don’t offer some really cool signature packaging with our fillets. A nice shade of blue, perhaps…?
2. Is this fish actually fresh?
~ Ummmm…. Yes. See #1.
3. Isn’t this fish ‘overfished’/’on the bad list’/unsafe to eat?
~ First, we can’t legally (or morally for that matter) land or sell species that are overfished. Second, because something 27 years ago was one way…. does not mean it is still that way today. So much work goes into improving/fixing/optimizing our industry. And much of it works very well! But OLD, skewed, one sided ‘information’ can ruin all of those efforts if people are not careful to seek out truth and facts. Third, I’d suggest getting off the internet and just go over and have a chat with the guy whose whole entire life depends on every single detail of the health of the species and the laws and regualtions related to them. You will be stunned at what you learn. Or, you can know this: US Commercial Fishermen the most regulated fishermen in the entire world. Strangely…. nearly 90% of all fish consumed in the US is IMPORTED…. from places that (get this) DO.NOT.HOLD.TO.OUR.STRINGENT.REGULATIONS. So…. where’s that ‘flappy-fish-like-shaped’ piece from? And, how and when did that thing start it’s journey to you? Yeah, I’d maybe rethink that meal.
SOOOOO…. if your concern is to help keep our fisheries and the species healthy and plentiful, the short and simple answer is to SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FISHERMAN whose catch is monitored, regulated, legislated and watched over by about 5 zillion agencies at once to ensure it’s well-being. And for goodness sakes… please, please, please get real information about the seafood your eating. Not something that was photo shopped and altered and edited and estimated to sound like whatever money making entity needs it sound sound like.
4. How do I cook this?
~ Barely. Our fish is fresh. Like really, really fresh. You do NOT need to cover it’s taste with spices and sauces and stuff. I’m all for a very tasty recipe…. I’m just saying, if you want to you can actually just brush a little olive oil on and put some heat on our fish. If you have more than 5 minutes, you can also… BBQ, roast, pan fry, sautee, poach …. you get the point. No matter how you decide to prepare it, do not overcook the fish. It’s fat content is relatively low (for most species we offer) and if you cook it until it looks ‘done’ ~ it will end up DRY. Other than that, have fun trying new tastes. Some examples: Our Thresher, Mako and Swordfish all go wonderfully something tropical in flavor like a good pineapple mango salsa. Or a nice Teriyaki flavor. Our Halibut… Oh, my fav!… is my go to meal for quick, simple and easy. Pat it dry, Avo Oil, S&P… a few minutes on one side…. over it goes…. add butter (yeeee! so good) and finish it off.
Some of our super cool customers (who are way more adept in the kitchen than I) have shared their recipes on our FB page and some are featured on our website. Go check ’em out!
4. Hmmm, sounds good! How much will all of this goodness set me back?
~ Our fish is sold ‘per pound’. Each species is individually priced, based on current market value. Popularity, availability and costs involved in landing the fish all go into the pricing. Our offerings are cut and packaged and ready for you to prepare for your meal. When I price the fish, I consider what is happening in the fish market in general right then….and adjust our prices accordingly. I go the extra mile to compare our prices with other local retail prices and have found my prices nearly 100% of the time to be UNDER other listed prices. Feel free to ask about our prices and when a ‘best time’ to buy certain species might be. We can also offer insight into how you can care for your fish or even how to properly freeze it for later use, if you find something you love and the price is nice so you can consider stocking up. Speaking of stocking up: We also offer most of our fish ‘whole’ (as opposed to filleted). Many people take advantage of buying a side of beef and freezing it. There are pricing advantages to doing the same with our fish. Ask us…. we’ll give you all the info you need to make that decision. Plus, we are happy to fillet it out for you once you purchase a whole fish. And last, for great cost effectiveness, don’t skip over the chance to try our collars, ribs or belly trimmings! These are a great way to enjoy our super fresh fish, at an even more attractive price point. Fish soups, grilled ribs and roasted collars are all wonderful meals ~ and help to ensure not a scrap of these beautiful fish goes to waste!
5. What’s it like to be a Commercial Fishing family?
~ Awesome! And scary/frustrating/amazing/hilarious…. To read a bit more about this life of ours (OK, a little too much about it ~ I have no boundries sometimes) check out our website for some archived Fisherman’s Wife notes, or you can look back through them by scrolling through our FB page.
Remember, it’s your support that keeps this all moving. Please keep sharing your recipes, photos, questions, ideas, comments. We love getting them from you!