I grew up in an agricultural country, in the heart of the country. Now my son and I live on the North Coast after years of living in Austin, Texas where barbecues and tacos are rampant and summers are very hot and getting to Barton Springs with a kolache and a Topo Chico is a routine.
Here it’s seafood: fried, fresh, finished with white butter, whatever the case, and picnics on granite ledges at Gerry Island with a lobster roll and a bottle of rosé. Those granite ledges make Marblehead marble, and the views, the salty air and the land-sea frontier life mean the most these days to the both of us and we revel in every change of the tide, wind and season.
Since moving to Old Town Marblehead, we’ve immersed ourselves in the knowledge of the people who make our food possible here on the North Shore. What we have come to learn, and even welcome, is the plain and simple truth that if the “food” did not come from these waters or from neighboring farms, we probably would not eat it. Unless, of course, we’re in Boston and it’s a story for a different problem.
While I can write an endless screed on fishing and family businesses, farmers and food culture here on the North Shore, I have only touched on a few essential points for their brand storytelling, their community engagement, their quality and their impact.
Little Harbor Lobster Company
What makes this place special for us the locals and even for people who walk for miles to enjoy one of the best lobster rolls is the location and the people. While getting there and parking can be a test, most people who aren’t on foot discover Marblehead’s rabbit mazes early enough and the joy of parking in a community with one-way streets and narrow streets. For us, it’s pretty easy as we can walk there, in just under five minutes, and enjoy all that this mom-and-pop place has to offer.
Sure, lobster rolls are the star of the shore here, but you can also buy pre-made chowders and bisques, mussels and clams, finfish, prepared foods, and steamed lobsters. at home. The people you meet online are happy to be in Little Harbor, watching the water while their orders are being prepared, but it’s the people you meet who run this place, engaging in this business every day, who are the real storytellers and the community-makers to remember.
The Brewin and O’Keefe families have come together to keep the Marblehead Lobster Company tradition alive and have the support of a loving town and longtime staff to help them out. With decades of fishing and relationship building behind the team at Little Harbor Lobster Company, you’ll be sure to bring home and enjoy the freshest seafood and feel so blessed that you’ve supported a mission. of making a commitment to and doing locally sourced food and the fishermen and women who go out there.
Additional perks: delivery (both by land and sea) and specials such as taco kits with fresh halibut and everything you need, including coleslaw, chimichurri, and queso fresco. Add a bottle of wine and the evening is set.
Boston Smoked Fish Co.
While not focused on the North Coast, the Boston Smoked Fish Co. is a business worth supporting and a concept that showcases locally sourced fish found in the waters of the greater Boston area. In 2013, founders Chris Avery and Matt Baumann decided to test their fish smoking skills and, through their process of discovery, maintained their commitment to simple ingredients and smoking fish that produced a richer flavor with processing. minimal.
While exploring their learning curve, they experimented with over 70 brines, several varieties of fish, and several types of hardwood. After all this R&D, they’ve landed on their sweet spot and have a smoky product with a synchronous flavor profile and noticeable versatility. I know that at this house, the smoked salmon bacon from the Boston Smoked Fish Co. and the smoked blue fish pie, perfect with bagels, make Sunday brunch a party occasion.
The team selects the fish by hand every day, right on Boston’s docks, and remains committed to North American hardwoods and fresh herbs and spices, sourced locally by the communities in which we all live and work, in these regions. Boston Smoked Fish Co. now has a permanent display at the Boston Public Market Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is also located at Whole Foods, Roche Brothers and Wegmans. And for those of you who don’t live in this part of the coastline, shopping online is still an easy option.
Cape Ann Fresh Catch
Our friends in Gloucester certainly have the backbone, backbone and peach chops to keep us all well fed and well educated when it comes to fresh seafood. Drive through town and you will see, perched on a granite base, the Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial which features an eight-foot-tall tanned fisherman in oilskins, bracing for a gale and engaged at the helm. The memorial recognizes the more than three hundred years of fishermen or “Those who go down to the sea in ships” and recalls the long history of fishermen lost in these waters.
The Cape Anne Fresh Catch team took that story and turned it into a forward-looking concept, with a focus on sustainability and how to keep our fisheries, our fishermen and our women thriving. Boom, part of a fresh seafood delivery service, part of a pop-up marketplace pickup, part of what is now the largest community-supported fishery in the United States. With your pickup or delivery, you will receive the freshest fish possible, information about the vessel and the team that brought your fish, recipes, and details on the type of fish you will enjoy.
Pluses: Cape Anne Fresh Catch has its own smokehouse, Twin Light Smokehouse (a nod to the stunning Thacher Island Twin Lights), and is a team born and raised in Cape Ann and mentored by the great smoking teacher, Paul “Sasquatch” Cohan. Offers include smoked mussels, salmon and haddock, and ‘Hit the Deck’ smoked mussel spread. Visit virtually for details.
Our wicked fish
OWF is not a place in itself, but a community built and rooted in education and information sharing. The team here is committed to giving consumers and restaurants a full understanding of the fish they desire by creating a discourse with fishermen, buyers, producers and sellers so that all are working with up-to-date information and the best ways to celebrate local seafood. Our Wicked Fish provides updates on the best fish of the season, shares information on organizations that support local fishing, highlights restaurants that are committed to sustainability, and features people who are the vibrant voices of fishing and this mission to inform and celebrate the food we love and where it comes from.
Check out the OWF website for all the learning you could want, recipes, where to buy, Farmers Market updates, local events, meetups and media related to our seafood. and celebrating our fish culture and community.
CONTACT botonsmokedfish.com; capeannfreshcatch.org; littleharborlobster.com; ourwickedfish.com