For those of us who live in big cities, a visit to the nearest farmers’ market often requires a trip on an overcrowded train, and a visit to the nearest farm requires—well, forget it. That’s why CSAs (community supported agriculture) can be a savior. Oftentimes the same organic, local farmers that you’ll find at that Sunday market offer a subscription service where an eclectic array of seasonal produce at the peak of ripeness shows up at your door (or office or pickup point) every week or month.
Taking a page from the CSA playbook, seafood pioneers who believe sustainable fishing is as important as organic farming are delivering fresh fish to your front door.
Nic Mink and Marsh Skeele founded Sitka Salmon Shares to increase transparency in the seafood industry and bring high quality, sustainable seafood to the Midwest. By subscribing to a share, you’re supporting 20 independent fishermen and women who are sustainably harvesting Copper River sockeye, coho and king salmon, halibut, spot prawns and more. Even Chicago-area chefs, like Chef Nicole Pederson of Found and The Barn, are working with the young company.
While it’s tougher to feel as connected to a faraway fisherman as a local farmer, this brings you one step closer to the person who is carefully catching and cleaning your seafood. Each package is labeled with the name and boat number of whomever caught the fish. Sitka Salmon Shares offsets the carbon emissions associated with shipping from Alaska, helping provide wind energy research and development efforts in the Midwest. Plus, the company returns 1% of its revenue to fisheries conservation efforts.
Most fishing in the world is done by massive factory trawlers using large nets, which can be very wasteful and damaging to the ocean ecosystem. These small-boat family fishermen and their cooperatives in Southeast Alaska only use more eco-friendly (and labor-intensive) hook-and-line methods and process the fish right onboard.
Seafood is delivered monthly during fishing season, from April through December. Each fillet is individually portioned, vacuum-sealed and blast frozen for maximum freshness. The king salmon makes great, buttery sashimi and the halibut is especially sweet.
California also has several great sustainable seafood share programs, including Trashfish in Los Angeles, Sea Forager in the Bay Area and H&H Fresh Fish in Santa Cruz. Dock to Dish has locations on both coasts and internationally, too.
Eating healthier, pristine seafood has never been this easy and by cutting out the middlemen, the fishermen make 20-30% more. To show their appreciation, the Sitka fishermen have an outstanding offer to host any visiting customers for dinner – just so long as they help with the dishes.