Meet the farm-to-table movement’s salty-aired cousin: dock-to-dish. Like CSAs providing produce to folks without a farm, Old Line Fish Company is the region’s first Community Supported Fishery (CSF), bringing fresh and local seafood to community members who do not have access to the water. Every other Thursday over a 10-week span, Old Line Fish Company program director Kelly Barnes coordinates pickup of safely packed cooler bags containing the Bay’s bounty like soft shell clams, blue catfish, rockfish, oysters and occasional specialty items like Jonah claws. The community, it turned out, was hungry for it.
Debbie Ellen, a CSF member and fresh seafood enthusiast, was keen on the camaraderie that comes about through this community endeavor. “We really look forward to it!” she exclaims, having just picked up her prize on September 5, the last pickup day of the CSF season. “We all get together on Friday to discuss what we got and what we made.”
|Kelly Barnes, program director of Old Line Fish Co., delivered
biweekly allotments of seafood to 35 customers during the latest season.
The “we” includes Ellen and a few of her coworkers at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, who all joined the Old Line Fish Company’s CSF together and make an event of the pickup. The seafood is always a fresh off-the-boat catch, and the CSF members waste no time in closing the circle from boat to cooler to taste buds. Assisting them in their culinary adventures are recipes for their week’s catch and informational handouts about unfamiliar species in each delivery. “The whole purpose is to get [CSF members] comfortable with the seafood,” explains Barnes.What I'm not seeing in this article is whether or not the seafood is given away or sold; but given that she's a state employee, I'm just guessing it's being given away.
Barnes became the coordinator of Old Line Fish Company through her work at the Oyster Recovery Partnership, an organization that has been recycling oyster shells and working with the watermen community for years. Seeing the growing demand for fresh seafood as well as the untraversed distance between land-dwellers and watermen, the Oyster Recovery Partnership, with the financial support of the Ratcliffe Foundation, formed Old Line Fish Company. Barnes uses Old Line Fish Company to educate consumers on seafood and to knit more closely the lives of those who live and work in the region.
I do my part, Georgia gives away the majority of the fish I catch to friends and neighbors who don't have a fisherman in the family. But we don't provide recipes.