Friday, September 7, 2007

Day Sixty-Six - Chicken of the Sea

Buying Local Seafood

I've posted about buying local produce and wrote about how much fresher the food tastes and how it's better for the environment. Well lately I've been looking at everything that lands on our plate and trying to find ways to decrease the number of miles our meals travel to reach us. Also, since I've ixnayed the beef from our diet, I'm adding in more fish and other seafood to our weekly menus.

Fortunately for us, we live about 60 miles from the great bounty of the Chesapeake Bay, which offers up such delectables as rockfish, mackerel, flounder, blue crab, clams and oysters. I assumed that much of this great bounty ended up at my local grocer, but much to my dismay, it does not. When questioned where the "Maryland Style Blue Crab" came from, a Kroger employee was quick to admit that it was imported from Malaysia. <>. They had NO LOCAL FISH.

Fortunately, clickety-click-click, I found online some information about a local seafood shop, Bon Air Seafood. On my first visit, I explained to Jeff, the owner, that I was trying to eat as much "local food" as I could and asked if he could tell me which items were from the Chesapeake. I'll be damned if he didn't go through every single fish and shellfish in that store and identify it's origin from memory. Not only that, he recommended some great local items for me to try and even wrote down a savory recipe for rockfish. He even let me sample of the most amazing seafood-macaroni salad I've ever had. Then he packaged me up -- put all my goodies in a cardboard box with a bag of ice to keep it all fresh on the drive home. Talk about service! That place is the BEST!

I now go to the seafood shop every other week to pick up the latest and greatest seafood for our meals. The difference in smell, texture and taste between this fresh fish and the frozen crap I used to get at the grocery store is unbelievable. (sorry, Kroger, you know I love you, but your seafood sucks...) It tastes like you're sitting at a seaside restaurant, getting your dinner right off the boat. I love it!

So, if you're lucky enough to have access to fresh fish where you live, please, seek out a local seafood store -- you won't be sorry! For those of you concerned about toxins in your fish, please refer to the Environmental Working Group's Safe Fish List. Remember too that if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, nursing or feeding the fish to little ones that you need to be extra cautious about the types and quantities of fish you consume.


Not saving any coin on this one, but oooohhhh, the taste is SO worth it! Again, make sure the fish you are buying isn't "farmed" fish or imported. There is plenty of fresh, local fish and your fishmonger (isn't that a fun word?) will help you pick out the seafood that suits your tastes and environmental concerns!

Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5

No, it's not as easy as picking up the fish with the rest of my groceries at Kroger, but it's not difficult either. I only wish the store were closer so I could go weekly and avoid having to freeze some of the fish when I get home. All in all, it is DEFINITELY worth the added aggravation -- both to help me reduce my ecological footprint and to satisfy my tastebuds!

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