The Gloucester fisherman is an iconic symbol of American culture on par with baseball and the wild west. In fact these “cowboys of the sea” have been risking life and limb out on the fishing banks since 1623. The romantic (and treacherous) days of the schooner fleet are gone, but Gloucestermen are still fishing! Gloucester is no longer the household name it once was when it comes to fish (except Gorton’s of course), but we want to change that.
Thanks to the Gloucester Fresh Seafood program, my hometown is poised once again to be a leader in providing fresh, sustainable seafood. From boat to plate, the only way to get it fresher is to catch it yourself. A growing list of restaurants, processors and fish markets are participating in this program to market our locally caught fish with the “Gloucester Fresh” brand.
I for one, don’t have to be convinced about how great our local seafood is. I’ve had the luxury of eating fresh Gloucester fish and shellfish my whole life. Now it’s time again for the rest of the country to enjoy our fish just like they did when Gloucester was the greatest fishing port in the Western Hemisphere. Take a look at this growing list of restaurants and seafood companies that participate in Gloucester Fresh. One example is Steve Connolly Seafood, where I buy most of my fish. Take a look at this short promotional video by my friend Bobby Turner:
Gloucester Fresh focuses on what is fresh and in season. The recipes and videos on their website reflect the species that they want the public to be aware of. Beyond the restricted cod and the plentiful haddock, there are other delicious local fish that are affordable, plentiful and sustainably harvested. This works out for both consumer and fisherman alike: consumers get fresh fish for a good price while fishermen can avoid tight quotas and target healthy stocks, earning a living in the process.
Local species like Atlantic pollock, dabs (American plaice), redfish and whiting can all be prepared like their better known cousins. Pollock and whiting can replace cod, dabs and yellowtail flounder can replace more expensive flounder or sole. Redfish (ocean perch), a very inexpensive local species, can be prepared like a West coast rockfish or red snapper.
I highly recommend visiting the Gloucester Fresh website and seeing for yourself what it is all about. Take a look at their list of restaurants and seafood dealers (many ship worldwide) and check out some of the recipes for our lesser-known local fish.