Blue Heron Local Cuisine

Cooking, Eating, and Drinking on the North Shore (and beyond)

Living on the Water July 22, 2009

Filed under: Regional food,Terroir — blueheronlocal @ 4:31 pm
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(photo from Trustees of the Reservation)

(photo from Trustees of the Reservation)

Community supported fisheries have been getting a lot of attention in the national news. It’s a revolution, first Boston, then the world (now where have I heard that before?).

But the thing is, you don’t live in New England because you like eating farm-raised shrimp from China stuffed with antibiotics.

 

In Boston, it can be easy to forget that you live on the water. Sure, you can see seagulls harassing each other for leftovers in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, but how often do you see water other than the Frog Pond and dodgy puddles—the Jamaica Pond, if you are lucky?  

 

Here on the North Shore, the water is harder to ignore. We have to stop in our cars and wait for boats to go through the drawbridge, our roads go by the water, there are beaches we can go to whenever we want, we pass the tourists waiting outside Woodman’s. They came here to see something. But even on the North Shore, you cannot find local strawberries at the grocery store. In season.

 

One of the very basic things we can do to live less-ridiculous lives is to remember where we live.  This is very basic terroir. Up here, there is no reason to eat strawberries from Chile in February (or California strawberries in June), when you can freeze your overabundance of berries in June. Why would you eat Washington State apples in October, when, in Massachusetts at least, you are never more than an hour’s drive from an orchard? And the seafood.

 

 Eat like you live on the water. Support the local fishing boats that you see coming in when you are at the beach. The folks on board are your neighbors, not part of some foreign-owned corporation that has no interest in what makes New England different than Timbuktu, except for how they can make money from it.

 

Anyway, I hear Timbuktu is pretty hot this time of year.

-goldlentil

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Community Supported Fisheries in Gloucester!! May 5, 2009

Filed under: Fishing — blueheronlocal @ 8:26 pm
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Exciting news! This is a little lukewarm off the presses, as I’ve been distracted by other things, but sign up here for Cape Ann Fresh Catch. A twelve-week assortment of fish is available in whole shares (6-8 lbs. a week for $360) and half shares (3-4 lbs. a week for $180). Pickup may be available in Ipswich, Gloucester, Marblehead, and Cambridge, depending on interest.

 

Support your local fisherman and learn how to cook new kinds of fish!

-goldlentil

 

Community Supported Fisheries October 9, 2008

Filed under: Fishing,North Shore — blueheronlocal @ 3:26 pm
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(photo by Mike Martin)

(photo by Mike Martin)

I can see fishing boats chugging out to sea practically from my window, but in the grocery stores and fish markets, the seafood often is farm-raised or foreign. The question of why we don’t have more local seafood has plagued me, and others I’m sure, as long as I’ve lived on the North Shore. Cathy Huyghe discusses this lack in an article in the Gloucester Times. She also offers an answer: Community Supported Fisheries.

 

Any localvore worth her salt (to mix metaphors) is familiar with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where the consumer plunks down a small wad of bills in the spring and in return gets weekly boxes of fresh, beautiful produce all summer and into the fall. What if you could plunk down a small wad of bills and receive fresh fish all summer? The fishermen would receive reliable capital and fair-trade prices for their catch and the localvore would eat well and support the local economy.

 

Community Supported Fisheries have received a bit more press since I first mentioned them. A recent issue of Orion discusses them and their benefits and barriers to success and the Gloucester Times is also keeping an eye on them. There’s a CSF in the midcoast of Maine and one in North Carolina. Maine also has a lobster CSF (of course!). The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance is actively pursuing the establishment of more CSFs. There has been talk of setting up a CSF in Gloucester. I’m looking forward to it.

 

 

-goldlentil

 

Fried Clam Epicenter of Massachusetts August 27, 2008

Filed under: Farmers market,North Shore — blueheronlocal @ 1:43 pm
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thanks, roadfood.com, for the photo!

thanks, roadfood.com, for the photo!

According to the Boston Globe, Route 133 is the local clam center of goodness. Of the four clam shacks reviewed, only The Clam Box and the all-famous Woodman’s use local clams exclusively. JT Farnham’s and our favorite, Essex Seafood, use local clams for the most part, but will go farther afield if they can’t get local.
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Interested in more local seafood adventures? At the Gloucester farmers’ market, you can see, and possibly take gustatory part in, a seafood throwdown, where local chefs are given $25 to spend at the farmers’ market and fifteen minutes to pick out produce and fish. Then they have an hour to cook a meal at the farmers’ market. If you’re lucky, you’ll be one of the people chosen at random to eat blue fish with braised mustard greens, red-skinned potatoes, sweet corn, caramelized leeks, and tomatoes. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.
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The article also mentions the possiblity of Community Supported Fisheries in Gloucester. Anyone interested in picking up a weekly share of fresh North Atlantic fish? Be still my beating localvore heart.

-goldlentil