Tag Archives: seafood

Mexico’s wine country – Valle de Guadalupe – is on the rise

Baja California seems like the perfect place to recreate that Italian sense of wine. Both are peninsulas with rolling hills of heat and fresh ocean breezes, perfect for a multitude of grape varieties. Food is central to the culture, like it is in Italy, with most Mexicans in the area practicing some sort of agriculture, aquaculture, or livestock herding. Finally, both have a bustling tourist industry more than ready to accommodate wine loving visitors.

Mark my words, Baja California is on the rise as a wine destination.

A review of Deckman’s seasonal restaurant located on the El Mogor winery:

My dear pal took me to Baja’s wine country – the Valle de Guadalupe near Ensenada – to lunch under the pine trees at Drew Deckman’s new seasonal restaurant at the charming Mogor Badan winery…there is no dearth of fine eateries in the Ensenada area.

And all take full advantage of what the region offers including organic produce; regional cheeses in both the farm and European styles; hand-crafted wines that are winning accolades throughout the world, and meats and seafood that are cultivated locally.

 

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The case of the missing fish – why local seafood doesn’t exist

San Diego’s famous spiny lobsters are disappearing from…San Diego.

It’s partially a simple case of supply and demand. Lobster lovers in other markets—from L.A. to China—have a bigger demand, and they’re willing to pay for it.

“Our home consumer is getting priced out,” explains Catalina Offshore Products fishmonger Tommy Gomes. “A couple years ago, lobsters were $7 per pound. Now it’s $17 to $19. I’ve never seen such high prices.”

America’s high sustainability standards also drive up prices. Fishing is limited to specified areas, during specified months. Quotas are tight. Spiny lobster can only be harvested using one trap on one fishing line. “In some parts of the world,” says Paddy Glennon, vice president of sales at Santa Monica Seafood, “you can find 100 traps on one line across three miles.”

The goal of such restrictions—long-term survival of a crucial food source—is both admirable and necessary.

Lobster isn’t the first local delicacy to hop a red-eye out of San Diego.

“San Diego used to be the tuna capital of the world, but the exodus of the tuna fleet occurred when it became dolphin safe,” says American Tuna’s Natalie Webster. “Now 84 percent of the fish the U.S. consumes is imported; we can’t compete with tuna processed in Thailand or third-world countries since we don’t pay people 25 cents a day.”

Ultimately, the consumer will decide whether keeping local food in town is worth the cost. It’s not an easy sell, especially to Americans, who only spend 9.8 percent of their income on food—the lowest, globally.

“We are a culture that relishes cheap products, including seafood,” says Gomes. “To save money, Americans are eating third-world frozen fish with phosphates and glazed with chemicals.”

via San Diego Magazine

Abalone, near endangered, once enjoyed by our parents…what will we pass on to our kids?

The next time someone asks you to drive less or recycle, try not to think about how much that annoys you. Instead think about the world that your children or grandchildren will live in. Will it be better or worse than the one you enjoy now?

Many signs are pointing to it being worse. One of those indications comes from an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune discussing the incoming extinction of Abalone on the West Coast.

..baby boomers who grew up peeling them off rocky outcroppings so that the practice became part of California beach culture.

“You used to be able to get an abalone sandwich for lunch when I first got here in the early 1970s,” Butler said.

I’ve never eaten an Abalone or even seen one. Am I already a part of that generation experiencing a worse world?

Abalones were a staple of coastal life for centuries — a nearshore fishery once topped 5.4 million pounds — until they were all but wiped out by disease, overharvest, predatory otters, poaching and habitat destruction.

By 1997, state officials had shut down all abalone fisheries south of San Francisco in hopes of saving the species.

In many ways the answer is yes, the environment passed down to me is worse than it was before.

The good news is that the solution defies generations. It requires the passion and motivation of young scientists combined with the wealth, political policies, and experience of older, often retired, specialists and philanthropic individuals.

The National Marine Fisheries Service recently formed a task force to save the black abalone, which was listed as federally endangered in 2009. A recovery plan is expected in about two years, though scientists said it’s complicated by poaching in the United States, limited harvest enforcement in Mexico and the potential that climate change will speed the spread of disease in the population.

There is still an abundance of hope, but first we must overcome our balking at minor inconveniences.

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A long way off: seafood at farmers markets that is fresh, local, and sustainable

“Ideally, farmers market customers would like a vendor to offer:

  • Wild fish that is freshly caught, rather than frozen.
  • Caught in local waters.
  • Sold directly by the fisherman, his family or his employees.
  • Available regularly and reliably in a diverse range of products.
  • A reasonable price.

“Realistically, however, it is virtually impossible for one vendor to fulfill all of these criteria, any more than one person can be both a top-flight ballerina and a football linebacker.”

“Many farmers markets do have fish vendors, but almost all of those are resellers who readily tell customers that they bought their fish wholesale. If a certified produce vendor at a farmers market were doing that, they’d be violating the direct-marketing regulations that govern farmers markets.”

“Looking back at the fish vendors who have sold at the prestigious Santa Monica farmers market since she started managing it in 1982, Laura Avery says she can think of only one, a shrimper who no longer operates, who she was sure sold only what he caught.”

From LA Times Market Watch

The same goes for me. I have visited markets all over this country and only found one who sells what they catch. That is Buster’s Seafood at the Dupont Market in Washington DC.