Wednesday, November 17, 2010

FARMER'S MARKET FINDS AND A NEW FISHMONGER


Last Saturday we went to the New Bern Farmer's Market to see what was there.  We found beautiful local pecans for $6/lb., blemish-free sweet potatoes for $.75/lb, pesticide-free eggplant ($.99/lb.), sweet bell peppers (4/$5) and red leaf lettuce $1/small head).

We were thrilled with our finds, and were on our way out when we saw a new concession, Captain Tom's Fresh Seafood.

Bay scallops, frozen cooked whole lobsters, yellowfin tuna, black grouper and trout were all offered at very reasonable prices.
 Tom Smith (252-474-2418), of The Flying Fishermen Seafood Distributors, advised us that all the fishing is done in the ocean.  The Flying Fishermen is in the process of developing a website, and they are aviation based, giving them access to a broader range of seafood.  He then educated us on wild vs. farm-raised seafood, shocking us with the cold fact that 90% of all fish sold in the US is farm raised, even though some of it may be sold and priced as wild.
The Flying Fishermen will soon be selling wild Atlantic salmon.  Tom said the salmon migrate as far south as the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the colder months, where Tom and his fishermen will catch them for sale to local restaurants and to the public.  He says the Atlantic salmon will be 100% wild, never spawned in hatcheries and never corralled in fish farms.  (FYI, farm-raised salmon produces more inflammatory Omega 6's than 3's, making them harmful to your body rather than beneficial.)  Tom said they will also be catching
lobsters as the waters become colder.

As soon as I got home, I did several hours of research on the internet to corroborate Tom's information.  Sadly, I found he was telling us the truth.  Even "wild" salmon sold by stores like Harris Teeter is not truly wild.  The State of Alaska produces mostly farmed or "ranched" salmon.  The ranched salmon is hatched in a controlled environment where the baby fish are vaccinated against diseases and treated with antibiotics when necessary.  They are fed artificial foods until they are released to the "wild" where they are caught.  Technically, they can be called wild, but they are not 100% wild and therefore do not have the health benefits of wild fish.  They may taste good, but the Omega 3 production that you think you are getting is just not there.  
While the semi-wild salmon is leaner and better than the farmed, it's still not the quality it should be.  So I'll be going back to the Farmer's Market to get some fish from Captain Tom's.  He'll be there every Saturday, so here's one concession I am happy to endorse -- no fish from the creeks, no fish from farms or hatcheries, just fresh-caught wild fish.  How great is that?

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