A Fine Kettle of Fish

If you enjoy seafood as much as I do, the challenge of eating locally in the Maritimes is less of a challenge and more of an indulgence.

A friend hosted a seafood dinner this week and it was amazing to dive into the abundance of freshly made fishcakes, smoked salmon, scallops, and mussels. Oh, the mussels…. Although I can’t speak to all of the food being local, it certainly became clear how lucky I am to live in a place where each of these are readily available, sometimes as fresh as a caught-that-day fish.

Nova Scotia harbours: Where the delicious fish live.

Also, fiddleheads! I tried my first taste of this curly green vegetable and, folks, I am in love. I even spotted some sprouting up along a nearby hiking trail. Don’t worry though, I didn’t munch on any raw.

I attempted the 100 mile challenge for a few weeks a couple of summers ago, whilst living in Ontario. While I’d call it a success, it was also quite difficult.  This was partly because I enthusiastically jumped in assuming I could go veggie-heavy and rely on our local farmer’s market. Not so! I was appalled to discover that a considerable amount of produce sold at our nearest outdoor market was shipped in from the States! It was a real eye opener of how easily people, myself included, are blinded by novelty.

Read the signs and ask questions!

I’ve learned my lesson and now make sure to ask questions while making purchases. I can buy an American greenhouse apple at the grocery store, thank you very much. As far as I can tell though, the Halifax markets seem to feature the delectable products of local farmers and artisans for the most part. Perhaps Nova Scotia has more discerning customers?

To add even more convenience to eating locally-produced food , I’ve joined a CSA, which I’ll be posting on once I start my pick-ups in June. In the meantime, I look forward to supplementing my diet with the high quality, freshly-caught fish and seafood from our neighbouring ocean.

7 thoughts on “A Fine Kettle of Fish

  1. Never fear – the mussels I served were Nova Scotian, and the ones I sent you home with were Islanders. Man oh man, they were good, weren’t they?
    Halifax also has a Community Supported Fishery (http://www.offthehookcsf.ca/content/7581#), but I am not sure when they are starting their 2011 season. The fish shop at the market is great for local fish, as is Local Source, but they tend to stock frozen only.
    And fiddleheads – to try them is to love them. The only thing that’s making spring worthwhile this year.

  2. Gill, I never doubted you for a minute. Those mussels were to die for. I could probably eat them every day and never get sick of them; mussel cereal, mussel sandwich, mussel pizza, mussel everything!

    Also, that community supported fishery looks great! *adds to list* It’s amazing what kind of resources surface when you really start to think about where your food is coming from, and who is producing (or catching) it.

  3. Oh! I also searched for more about the open/closed shell debate (were you there for that conversation?), and I’ve read some people say that the one study that okays closed shells is pretty flawed. This is all internet conjecture – I haven’t got my hands on legit studies for either side. So, for now, I’ll be tossing the closed mussels.

  4. Yes I was! No no to closed shells was my rule to live by. It was only recently that someone (tv? internet? humon? who knows?) proclaimed it a wives tale. But you’re so right on this one. Way better to be safe than sorry.

  5. The seafood potluck was brilliant. If I hadn’t been so sick all this past week, I would’ve gotten up off my butt and made it to my favourite fish counter at the seaport market (I believe it’s called the Fish Shop) to get my favourite thing: smoked salmon! They have all kinds there, from cold smoked to maple smoked (a definite crowd pleaser). I’ve brought it to potlucks before with great success. I’m sure we could do an entirely-local potluck without too much trouble. Except for the Smart Food, of course…

  6. YES! That maple smoked salmon is fantastico! It usually doesn’t make it past the market for me though. It’s a yummy breakfast snack while perusing the rest of the market.

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