Nov 08 2010

The Other Market

Published by at 11:01 am under Uncategorized

See this guy?

He’s at work at 2:00 every morning, and he can filet a fish in under 10 seconds.

He’s an employee at Monterey Fish Market, a company that supplies seafood to some of the best restaurants in the Bay Area — and to Tante Marie’s Cooking School.

I set my alarm for 4:30 am last Tuesday, and I was standing at Pier 33 at 5:15. It was pitch black out.

I was one of the first of my classmates to arrive for a tour of the Monterey Fish Market facilities, which, as you can see, is basically a big, cold warehouse holding more seafood than you’ve ever laid eyes on. Along with a bunch of guys wasting no time in scaling, slicing, weighing and packing fish. Here the orders are ready to be picked up by the shops and restaurants:

I was very tired, but Tom, our tour guide, kept all of our attention. He came into our class a couple of weeks ago to discuss the finer points of selling seafood, and the man knows enough about fish to fill an encyclopedia. Monterey is passionate about local, sustainable fishing, and they do everything they can to keep their processes humane.

Tom, in particular, heats up when he talks about farmed salmon, any Chilean seabass and even dungeness crab. Crab season is just around the corner, but he mentioned that smaller producers may find themselves in a tough position this year.

The season should last about eight months, he said, but big companies from out of town tend to come in and snap up all the crabs over the course of just two weeks. Then they freeze them and ship them out all over the world. The way he described it, that means a big loss for small-time fisheries and for the people of California.

By 6:15 am, I was very, very tired. And ready for a nap. But at least I didn’t have it as bad as this sword-less swordfish:

One response so far

One Response to “The Other Market”

  1. Stephanieon 27 Apr 2011 at 6:10 pm

    thanks. that was fun 🙂