Sustainable Seafood

Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Mango Slaw

It may not yet be summer, but you can take your tastebuds on a summer vacation with these tasty fish tacos!  You’ll find many of the ingredients in our weekly sale display from April 28th – May 4th, including local Sonia’s Salsa and local organic All Souls Tortilleria corn tortillas, and this recipe will help you quickly pull it together. You could even assemble the slaw a day or two in advance for quicker meal prep on a busy weeknight!

Spotlight on Starbird Fish

Being landlocked as we are, the very notion of “local” seafood seems implausible, but thanks to the team at Starbird Fish in Burlington, we are able to have the next best thing — sustainably sourced Alaskan seafood, harvested by Vermonters for Vermonters. Their small crew makes the annual voyage to Alaska to bestow Vermonters with the very best seafood available and provides us with a unique opportunity to know our fishermen. Starbird is featured in our Member Deals Spotlight from January 20th – 26th, so it’s a great time to stock up the freezer! Read on to learn more about this unique local business and the crew that makes the magic happen:

 

With over a decade of experience as a commercial fisherman, Anthony “Captain Tony” Naples has been involved in all aspects of the trade, including building his own commercial fishing boats under the tutelage of legendary boat builder Lyford Stanley. Prior to launching his career as a fisherman, the Moretown, VT native explored prior stints as a farmer, a design/build craftsman and carpenter, a botanist, a lighthouse restoration expert, a photographer, a filmmaker, and a musician. In short, there’s not much that Anthony can’t do. But what really floats his boat is to spend his summers immersed in the pristine environs of Alaska’s Bristol Bay, then return home to share his modest catch with his friends, family, and community. 

After experiencing the rigors and extractive nature of the typical commercial fishing scene, he realized his preference for a different style and pace involving a more sustainable means of harvesting fish. In addition to captaining his own boat, he returns each year to the tight-knit Ugashik fishing community of Bristol Bay, where he teams up with longtime friends to practice a form of salmon fishing known as set netting. The Ugashik region is home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world and is managed by the State of Alaska Fish and Game Department, whose team of state biologists ensures that a healthy number of fish return to the ecosystem every year.

It takes five separate flights to arrive at the comma-shaped estuary formed where the Ugashik River empties into Bristol Bay, on the western coast of the Alaska Peninsula. Upon arrival, the play-by-play goes something like this:  prep the gear; check the tides; check-in with Alaska Fish and Game to learn of his “openers” which are the acceptable windows during which the salmon can be sustainably harvested; set the nets; catch the fish; harvest the fish from the nets; immediately deliver the catch to a “tender”, which is a nearby boat that cools the fish using a seawater refrigeration system and delivers them to the processor, who then flash freezes the fish and prepares it for shipment back to Vermont. These steps take place over a 24-hour period and are repeated for the duration of the salmon run. 

 

Upon arrival in Vermont, some of the fish is smoked and stored in a facility in Burlington, while the rest of the frozen fish is warehoused at the Mad River Food Hub in Waitsfield until it finds its way to the Burlington Farmers’ Market and to the shelves of various food co-ops, restaurants, and other small markets across Vermont. According to a feature in Edible Vermont, Anthony explains that “the future for small seafood producers is in the artisanal food market. I want to provide high-quality product to restaurants and farmers’ markets, places where people care about the source of their seafood.” He continues, “There’s a lot of junk that’s sold as seafood, as well as misinformation bordering on outright lies about origins and freshness.” When you choose to purchase fish from Starbird, you’re supporting every aspect from fisherman to fishery, and that level of transparency and authenticity is critical for Anthony. 

In an effort to create an authentic, transparent regional seafood supply chain, Anthony created the Northern Seafood Alliance – an organization with a mission to provide consumers access to wild fish and seafood caught by fishermen whom Anthony knows personally. He quips in the Edible Vermont piece that half of them are UVM grads.  He also notes that “Cranberry” Bob Lesnikoski of Fletcher, Vermont, who you more likely know as Vermont’s only commercial cranberry farmer, has been a great resource. “He’s a true jack-of-all-trades and savvy about the food scene. Bob’s a commercial fisherman himself, and he came out to Alaska to crew on one of my boats.” 

At the Co-op, you’ll find a supreme lineup of Starbird Fish, including Alaskan Coho salmon, King salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Rockfish, Halibut, and Cod. When you take it home to prepare it, we hope you’ll think of Captain Tony and the incredible journey that he takes each year to bring fish to your family’s table. 

Maldivian Red Curry Tuna

In honor of our duel celebrations of Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month, we’re excited to be featuring a lineup of some of our favorite Fairtrade Certified, non-GMO Verified ingredients in our weekly sale from October 14th – 20th. In that display, you’ll find most of the ingredients for this fantastic one-pot curry dish that comes to us from fairtradecertified.org. The curry is especially delicious served over a steaming bed of Lotus Foods organic heirloom Tri-Color Blend rice, also featured in the sale. The wild-caught Orca Bay tuna featured this week also bears certification from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), which aims to promote and support diversity in the global supply chain. Orca Bay is an Alaska Native Owned business and proceeds from your purchase of their products support Alaska Native communities. Supplier diversity programs such as this seek to upend the reality for historically under-utilized, diverse-owned suppliers and help transform our supply chain to better reflect the rich diversity of the communities they serve.

Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Mango Slaw

Fire up the grill and take your tastebuds on a summer vacation with these tasty fish tacos! You’ll find many of the ingredients in our weekly sale display from July 22nd – 28th, including several local favorites —  fresh tomatillo salsa from Sonia’s Salsa, organic Elmer Farm red cabbage, and organic Vermont Tortilla Company corn tortillas. The Mahi Mahi featured in the sale comes to us from Orca Bay, which specializes in sustainably harvested seafood from responsible fisheries. This recipe will help you quickly pull it together and the slaw can be assembled a day or two in advance for quicker meal prep on a busy weeknight!

Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Mango Slaw

Take your tastebuds on a summer vacation with these tasty fish tacos! You’ll find many of the ingredients in our weekly sale display from April 29th – May 5th, including local Sonia’s Salsa and local organic All Souls Tortilleria corn tortillas, and this recipe will help you quickly pull it together. You could even assemble the slaw a day or two in advance for quicker meal prep on a busy weeknight!

Spotlight on Honeywilya Fish

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on Honeywilya Fish! All of their succulent sustainable seafood is 20% off for member-owners from January 14th – 20th! Read on to learn more about this unique local business that brings high quality, hook-and-line-caught wild Alaskan seafood to our Co-op shelves and the angler that makes it all possible:

For angler Lynn Steyaart, this fish tale begins on the shores of Georgia where he grew up fly fishing with his dad and watching the shrimp boats come into port. His path eventually led him to school at UVM, then on to adventures in commercial fishing in Alaska. It was here that Lynn met his wife, Maria, who had grown up in Chester, Vermont, but was spending some time as a wilderness ranger in Alaska. It was also there that Lynn purchased a commercial salmon troller called the “Honeywilya”, marking the exciting beginning of a new livelihood.

 

 

 

Lynn and Maria are now settled in Duxbury, Vermont, though Lynn still spends 6 months of the year fishing the 500-mile stretch of ocean in Southeastern Alaska from Ketchikan to Yakatak. Ideally, he returns home to Vermont with 700-800 pounds of seafood, which he sells to friends, neighbors, and a select few lucky local stores, including our Co-op.

 

 

All of Honeywilya Fish’s seafood is wild, sustainably caught by hook-and-line, individually landed, immediately cleaned, and gently handled by the Honeywilya crew. Without the use of nets, this small quantity catch method ensures an attention to detail and superior quality with each fish. Steyaart and his crew sustainably harvest King, Coho, and Ivory King Salmon, as well as Halibut and Lingcod. Immediately cleaned then flash-frozen, this fish will taste as good as the day it came out of the ocean. They bring their bounty back to Vermont every year to share the finest seafood the Pacific has to offer! 

 

Steyaart says it’s tough to leave his wife behind for half of each year and the days working on the boat can be long and strenuous, but it’s surprisingly easy to stay in touch. Because cruise ships frequent the southern Alaska coastline, cellphone coverage is surprisingly good where Lynn fishes and Maria hears from him often. And occasionally, as her schedule permits, she has even joined him on the boat.

 

Tuna Salad

It’s back to school time, and whether you’re packing lunches to send with your kids or pulling together simple lunches for homeschool breaks, we think you’ll love this classic tuna salad recipe with a bit of a Vermont twist. You’ll find many of the ingredients in our weekly sale from August 20th – 26th, so it’s a great time to give it a try. The local apples give it a great crunch and a bit of sweetness, balanced by the tang of the capers and citrus. Not a fan of mayo? Sub in 3-4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Want to work in some other veggies? Consider diced cucumbers, bell peppers, or shredded carrots in lieu of the celery. Don’t have any capers? Use diced pickles or olives for a similar effect. This recipe is highly adaptable based on your preferences, so feel free to be creative!

 

Spotlight on Orca Bay

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Orca Bay this week to shed a little light on their efforts to source sustainable, ocean-friendly seafood for all to enjoy. Their sustainable seafood products are 20% off for member-owners from July 5th – 11th! Read on to learn more about this ethically-minded company providing exceptional seafood choices for more than 30 years:

Orca Bay is pleased to be an example of how ethics, fairness, and friendship can be core values of a healthy and thriving business endeavor. They’re on a mission to “do business honestly, honorably and show continuous improvement.” From their people to their products, to the clients that they serve, their goal will always be to exceed expectations and to keep the Orca Bay whale synonymous with true quality and customer satisfaction. They have invested over three decades into searching out and nurturing business relationships with some of the most quality-minded seafood harvesters in the world.

At Orca Bay, they strive for complete transparency with their customers, employees, and suppliers. Together they collaborate to ensure that demand and standards for the finest seafood do not come at the expense of the individuals or oceans that provide them. From harvest to your kitchen table, they believe you have the right to know where, who, and how your fish got to you. Common Sense Seafood is how Orca Bay describes its dedication to responsible stewardship and wise business practices. It means targeting well-managed fisheries that are built for the long run. It means partnering with quality-minded providers who share their ethics. And it means providing customers with all the delicious, nutritious things that seafood has to offer. Orca Bay follows a fairness-based approach that embraces the fact that the health of their business goes hand in hand with the health of our oceans.

Orca Bay is also committed to supporting organizations which promote their shared values in business, health, and social responsibility such as the National Fisheries Institute,  Sea Share, and the Whale Research Center.

To learn more and to find great seafood recipes, click HERE.

Spotlight on Henry & Lisa’s Seafood

Henry & Lisa’s Natural Seafood, based in Seattle, Washington is featured in our Member Deals Spotlight from May 31st – June 6th. During this feature, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of sustainable seafood products, so it’s a great time to stock up the freezer! Read on to learn more about the history and mission of this eco-friendly seafood business:

Their Story

Henry & Lisa Lovejoy launched their company in 1999 with the belief that there are many concerned people just like them who care about where their food comes from, care for the environment, and desire a source of all natural premium quality seafood from environmentally sustainable fisheries. Having spent 10 years in the seafood industry traveling the globe and visiting seafood exchanges from Tokyo to Paris, Beijing to Madrid, they witnessed the astounding volume of seafood being sold each day on these exchanges and noticed the size of many of the fish decreasing. Simultaneously, there was more and more news that numerous species were being fished to the point of commercial extinction. It became very evident that the world is harvesting our oceans faster than they can replenish themselves, and these resources need better management.

Henry & Lisa both have a deep respect for and great appreciation of the oceans. As a youngster, Henry was inspired by Jacques Cousteau, spent time volunteering at the New England Aquarium, and learned to scuba dive. Now as avid scuba divers and sea kayakers, whenever they have a chance, they are out exploring the ocean and feeling their love and respect for it grow.

Much has changed since Henry first sat down to write the EcoFish business plan. Today you can find their products in over 3,500 grocery/natural food stores and many restaurants nationwide. But, a lot has stayed the same. They continue to source the finest seafood available from both well-managed wild fisheries and state of the art eco-friendly aquaculture operations.

From how they purchase their seafood, to their 100% recycled packaging, to the renewable energy that powers their office, to the many marine & conservation causes they support, each purchase of Henry & Lisa’s Natural Seafood helps them further their mission.

Their Mission

  • Provide only the most sustainable, highest quality, healthiest, all natural, most delicious seafood to customers.
  • Help support sustainable fisheries (wild & aquaculture), and their fishing communities by featuring their sustainable seafood products and adding value to their catch.
  • Help reverse the decline of marine biodiversity by encouraging a shift in consumer demand away from over-exploited fisheries.
  • Offer a level of customer service unmatched in the seafood industry.
  • Accentuate the positive — highlight fishery success stories by increasing demand for these products, creating an incentive for others to adopt sustainable fishing practices.
  • Support marine conservation efforts through collaboration with conservation, research, and educational organizations worldwide.
  • Raise consciousness of the threats to the world’s oceans by providing a credible source of environmentally responsible seafood to the rapidly growing consumer demographics seeking environmentally sustainable products.
  • Set a good example for corporate America by striving for the “Triple Bottom Line” — operate a profitable business that’s also responsible to its community and the environment.

Click here to read more about the EcoFish Approved species offered in their product line and the way in which they are harvested.

Click here to read about the various conservation partners that Henry & Lisa work with to ensure their seafood is certified sustainable.

Spotlight on Honeywilya Fish

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on Honeywilya Fish! All of their succulent salmon products are 20% off for member-owners from March 22nd – 28th! Read on to learn more about this unique local business that brings high quality, hook-and-line-caught wild Alaskan salmon to our Co-op shelves and the angler that makes it all possible:

For angler Lynn Steyaart, this fish tale begins on the shores of Georgia where he grew up fly fishing with his dad and watching the shrimp boats come into port. His path eventually led him to school at UVM, then on to adventures in commercial fishing in Alaska. It was here that Lynn met his wife, Maria, who had grown up in Chester, Vermont, but was spending some time as a wilderness ranger in Alaska. It was also there that Lynn purchased a commercial salmon troller called the “Honeywilya”, marking the exciting beginning of a new livelihood.

 

 

Lynn and Maria are now settled in Duxbury, Vermont, though Lynn still spends 6 months of the year fishing the 500-mile stretch of ocean in Southeastern Alaska from Ketchikan to Yakatak. He returns home to Vermont with 700-800 pounds of salmon, which he sells to friends, neighbors, and a select few local stores, including our Co-op.

 

 

All of Honeywilya Fish’s salmon are wild, sustainably caught by hook-and-line, individually landed, immediately cleaned, carefully iced, and gently handled by Lynn and his deckhand, Ryan Mulvihill. Without the use of nets (that can be detrimental to other species), this small quantity catch method ensures an attention to detail and superior quality with each fish. Steyaart and Mulvihill put in long days on the boat, working from 3 or 4 am until 9 pm to bring in their haul. The fish are cleaned and filleted right away, then packed in ice. Another boat meets Steyaart’s every couple of days to take the fish to a packaging facility to be vacuum-sealed. This ensures that the fish arrives to you as fresh as possible.

 

Steyaart says it’s tough to leave his wife behind for half of each year and the days working on the boat can be long and strenuous, but it’s surprisingly easy to stay in touch. Because cruise ships frequent the southern Alaska coastline, cellphone coverage is surprisingly good where Lynn fishes, and she hears from him often. And occasionally, as her schedule permits, she has even joined him on the boat.