Mark Bittman wrote this week about celebrating the farmer, about how “we need real farmers who grow real food, and the will to reform a broken food system.” We need real fishermen too.
Chefs recognize the value of people that harvest their food. Wild fishermen are particularly independent group, espousing a rugged individualism, seeing themselves as the last cowboys. They don't want to be supervised and have come slowly to the importance of fisheries management. Some are fatalistic about their life on the seas. New England fishermen used to buy steel-toed boots, believing that if they fell into the frigid Atlantic, it was better to drown faster. From 2000 to 2009, workers in the Northeast's multi-species groundfish fishery were 37 times more likely to die on the job as a police officer. These are some tough guys, who can use our love.
Fluke season closes this week in Massachusetts, and boats will be swapping gear over to scallops. We have begun working with some smaller vessels out of Nantucket which have multiple species licenses, and they are allowed to catch up to 600 lbs of scallops per day. They will day-boat sea scallops touched only by seawater. Later this fall they will harvest sugar sweet Nantucket Bay Scallops. NOAA researchers, getting a comprehensive view of the ocean floor using a new instrument, confirm high numbers of young sea scallops in this well managed fishery.
Up and down the east coast Bluefish are thick. Yesterday we were swimming not 30 yards off the beach at Point Lookout, NY when the sea around us came alive with bait fish, a school of bluefish feeding below and diving seabirds above. Pretty good action.
Last week Sea to Table was certified as a B Corporation. A Benefit Corporation is required by law to create benefit for society as well as for shareholders. We are proud to be part of this growing movement, and proud to not only deliver value to chefs, but to fish and fishing communities as well. And we would just like to shout out some old friends:
Rouge Tomate, NYC – Chef Jeremy
The Kitchen Community, Boulder and Denver, CO
The Ashby Inn, Paris, VA – Chefs Nate and Tarver
Ecco, Atlanta, GA - Chef Craig
Potager, Denver, CO - Chef Teri
BeauVine Chophouse and Wine Bar, Auburn, NY – Chefs Adam and Luke
Merchants, Nashville, TN – Chef Jason
The Blue Door, Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Chef Mike
Beckett’s Table, Phoenix, AZ – Chefs Justin and Jeff