Visiting our friends in the Northeast

Last Friday, I went on a road trip to visit a few friends in the Northeast before heading down to the Milford Oyster Festival. It was really cool to meet the people behind our oysters reaching restaurants and diners every day. These folks care about quality; they love what they do and have fun doing it. I really wanted to capture this, and I think it shines through in the video and photos below. We're honored to partner with some of the best in seafood in the Northeast. Please give them a holler if you're ever looking for our oysters and seafood!

Quality Seafood IN RHODE ISLAND

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quality seafood rhode island 3

I drove into a quaint neighborhood in Johnston, Rhode Island and pulled up in front of the shop. It was clear that Quality Seafood was a family business. In the retail shop, photos of Ken Amoriggi and his family hung proudly on the wall. He is the spitting image of his father.

quality seafood rhode island 1

Find them at 23 Greenville Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919 or call them at (401) 437-6688.

I got there in time to watch them unload their daily haul from Boston. They drive to Boston pretty much every day to pick up product because they want to deliver the freshest seafood to their customers. They deliver to many customers in the Providence area and have been growing through word of mouth.

What I enjoyed most about being there was watching the camaraderie. These guys were working hard, but they were also having a good time. Thanks again for making me feel welcome!

Gulf Shrimp in Connecticut

When I walked in to Gulf Shrimp's facility, it was clear that they are serious about seafood. There is a cooler just dedicated to shellfish - I was so impressed!

Gulf Shrimp services the whole state of Connecticut and has a reputation for providing high quality seafood. They pick up from Boston almost every day of the week and source many local products from CT growers.

There's also a huge focus of being sustainable here as well. Scott Wishart, Gulf Shrimp's sales manager, showed me all the fish scraps that were going to be trucked to Boston that would be turned into cat food!

The team here doesn't stop. Seafood processing, retail market sales, deliveries... something is always going on at Gulf Shrimp, seven days a week! Find them at www.gulfshrimpco.com, 240 Atwater Street, Plantsville, CT 06479 or call them at (860) 628-8399.

purdy's farmer and the fish

Out in Salem, New York, you'll find a place with a farm, a market, a restaurant, and a raw bar. Purdy's is a completely vertically integrated venture. All of the produce used in the restaurant is farmed in the backyard and all of the seafood is exclusively distributed by Down East Seafood. Michael Kaphan, who used to work at Down East, partnered with Ed Taylor, owner of the seafood company, to open Farmer and the Fish, hence the name.

Mike has a degree in agriculture management and is at the restaurant year-round. That man knows his ingredients! Having worked in kitchens since he was a teenager and then as a fishmonger, Mike really showed his passion for food.

Everything served that night tasted so fresh, probably because it was all freshly picked! It was also a great opportunity for me to do field research and converse with diners about our oysters because Pangea oysters are heavily represented here. The restaurant was laid back, but upbeat. Drinks were phenomenal (ask for the cucumber mojito), and the front-of-house team was awesome.

It got busy super fast, so make sure you make reservations unless you can get a seat at the bar. And of course, order the shellfish when you're there!

100 Titicus Road, North Salem, NY 10560
(914) 617-8380
www.farmerandthefish.com


Connecticut 2014 Vibrio Control Plan Updated

At Pangea, Blue Point Oysters are a staple, but lately, they have been so hard to come by. When we asked our Blue Point harvesters why, many of them pointed to the new Connecticut 2014 Virbio parahaemolyticus Control Plan. Connecticut has enacted two versions of the control plan: one set of regulations for Darien, Norwalk, and Westport; and one set of regulations for all other CT areas.

Strangely, I couldn't find the updated control plan posted on the Connecticut Department of Agriculture Aquaculture site. So, I reached out to them and have posted it here for everybody's information:

So what's the difference?

All oysters harvested between June 1 and August 31 inclusive from the waters of Darien, Norwalk or Westport shall be immediately placed into an on-vessel ice slurry (or method Approved by the DA/BA) for rapid cooling to 50°F internal temperature.
— Connecticut 2014 VPCP

The main difference is the time required to cool the oysters to <50º F from time of harvest. In DNW regulations, harvesters are expected to rapid cool their oysters within one hour versus 5 hours in all other areas. For DNW harvesters, that means once the oysters are out of the water, they need to cull, clean, bag, AND rapid cool the oysters down to <50º F all within 60 minutes. For smaller boats that do not have slurries or processing equipment, this can be extremely difficult to do for a boat load of oysters.

Since we get most of our Blue Points from Norwalk and Westport waters, supply has been constrained because harvesters do not have the time (and/or boat) capacity to harvest substantial amounts of oysters. Instead, many harvesters are turning to clams because it's a better use of their time.

If these regulations do what they are intended to do, which is to prevent vibrio outbreaks, then it might be hard to argue any "undue hardships." Regulators are creating these plans based on the best information available, but more concrete data is needed. To the industry, some of these regulations seem a bit arbitrary. For example, why one hour and not two? These are questions many of us have on our minds, but only time will tell what will work and whether regulations will evolve as we test and learn.