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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fresh Off the Boat! Fisherman's Market Reports

From contributing editor, Kim Thompson, program director of Seafood For The Future

The localvore movement has made farmers markets the go-to shopping destinations for fresh, local food. From fruit and vegetables to fresh baked goods and artisanal cheeses, these markets provide a rainbow of seasonal flavors that have been grown and harvested in our “backyards” so to speak. We know that supporting local food sources is better for the health of our environment, communities, and bodies and have managed to apply this knowledge to support our local farmers through farmer’s markets. So why is it that we don’t apply the same ideology to seafood?

U.S. seafood is among the best managed in the world to ensure healthy stocks and minimal impacts on the surrounding environment, yet the U.S. imports more than 86% of its seafood from sources with minimal if any regulation. Seafood is slowly making its way into our farmers markets, but tight and poorly structured health regulations and permitting processes make it difficult for many fishermen to sell their products at these venues.

If you want to support your local fishermen and fishing communities, there are some markets in Southern California where you can buy fresh, local, and responsible seafood straight from the boat (or very close to it). Some may require a bit of a drive, but is it really all that bad to take a scenic drive with the family to Santa Barbara or Newport Beach on a Saturday morning to bring home fresh, healthy fish for dinner? Here’s a list of some local hotspots where you can get the freshest seafood in Southern California for your next Barbeque or dinner, while supporting our local fishing communities:

Newport Dory Fleet is a small market owned and operated by local fishermen. Located at the entrance to the Newport Beach Pier, patrons can meet the fishermen as they peruse the beautiful selection of local, seasonal seafood items such as: sablefish, dungeness crab, rock crab, sanddabs, spot prawns, sea urchins, and more. The market is a historical landmark and is open Saturdays and Sundays from about 5a to 9a. Check the website twitter feed for exact times and species availability: www.doryfleet.com

Ventura Harbor Fisherman’s Market offers fresh, seasonal catch such as: sea urchin, California spiny lobster, rock crab, white seabass, sablefish, spot prawns, and more. The market is open from 8a – 11a while product is in season and supplies last. For more information, call 805-218-4888.

Santa Barbara Community Seafood is a community supported fishery (CSF), which uses a community supported agriculture (CSA) model to help promote local seafood. The CSF is run by local fishermen. All seafood is local and seasonal. Your subscription benefits the Santa Barbara fishing community. Some of the previous offerings have been: King salmon, ridgeback shrimp, sablefish, rock crab, and white seabass. Subscribers can choose weekly or bi-weekly pickups from two locations in Santa Barbara:
·      Wednesdays at Backyard Bowls on Lower State St. and the La Cumbre Plaza
·      Thursdays at Goodland Kitchen in Old Town Goleta

Santa Barbara Fish Market buys directly from the fishermen and sells it to you! They take pride in promoting Santa Barbara fisheries and communities. Look for local white seabass, sablefish, sea urchin, ridgeback shrimp, and more. They are open on Sunday – Monday from 9a to 7p and Saturdays from 7:30a – 8p. Call (805) 965-9564 for more information.

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