Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cape Cod Fish Share

Russo's (my weekly shopping destination) has everything necessary for perfect happiness.  The only thing they are missing is fish.  When I was there a few weeks ago, a brochure caught my attention.  It was advertising Cape Cod Fish Share.  Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs) work just like CSAs for vegetables and meats. You pay a fee for a certain number of weeks or months and get a weekly box of the farm's bounty (or the sea bounty).
Considering the fact that I usually buy an average of 3 Lb of fish per week just for our family (not counting cooking classes), if anyone would be jumping on the first CSF in the Boston area (from Cape Ann), it would be me.  But that wasn't the case.  There were two things about that CSF that pushed me away.  Originally, the fish was offered whole (though now they offer it filleted too), and all of the fish offered was groundfish.  From the fishing point of view, those are the fish that swim close to the ocean floor (cod, hake, haddock, pollock, whiting and the flatfishes like yelllowtail flounder and grey sole).  From the culinary point of view, they are lean, white fish with very little flavor.  

The Cape Cod CSF has a few advantages over Cape Ann (at least on paper, I haven't actually tried it).  They promise some of my favorite varieties (black sea bass, bluefish, mackerel, monkfish, striped bass, swordfish, and skate), and also the usual cod, haddock, and pollock.  Everything is filleted and skinless.  I was hoping it would be scaled with the skin left on for fish like bluefish and striped bass, but that's not an option because of the machinery constraints.  According to what I've observed in my fish class, that won't be a problem for most people.  I am guessing around 70% of my students don't want to eat the skin.  

Cape Cod CSF also offers scallops and cull lobsters (lobsters with a missing claw).  Since restaurants and retail markets don't want them, they usually get wasted, which is a shame.  So if you want to have your lobster and help the environment, this is a great option.

There are lots of share options from about 1.5 lb to about 2.5 lb of fish per week, with the option to have only fin fish or fin fish and shellfish.  The average cost per pound varies based on how much fish you buy, but is roughly $13-20.  It's about what you'll pay at a good fish market.  A price break is not a good reason to try a CSF, but there are several other reasons.  This is a good option if you want to eat more fish, but find that you forget to make a regular trip to the fish market.  It's also a good way to support your fishermen and the environment.  The fish are caught with sustainable methods (line and sand dragging) to minimize waste and impact on the environment.

Here is their calendar, pick up locations, and times.  If you try it, I'd love to hear your feedback.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We signed up for the couple's share, but were disappointed when the vendor changed the delivery date with no prior notice. We sent a brief email expressing our disappointment and were shocked by Ed's lengthy, defensive and unapologetic response.

Laying out $159. in advance to an unknown vendor involves an act of trust on the part of the customer, and a wise merchant would have handled this situation more courteously.

We had been recommending Cape Cod Fish to friends and neighbors, because the fish is very good, but we will no longer do so. We'd rather drive 30 minutes to an excellent fish market where we are consistently treated well.