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"From Fishing to Farmers Markets" & events, issues & ideas

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Fancy Food Show 2004-B and Fishing Politics
Fishing Politics

Squid fishing is a showcase of political triangulation. The players are: The fish buyers, the fishermen, and the light boats. This is how it works.... the buyers set a price, like $400 a ton. The lightboats agree in a group on the lowest price for which they will set boats... The fishermen fish for whatever price upon which both the buyers and lightboats agree. So..if a buyer lowers the price to $350 per ton, then no lightboats will set that buyer's boats. Those fishermen must tie up or face local punishment for being tires slashed, trucks wrecked. Then the fishermen can all strike, thereby shutting done the whole process. It is sticky business. Fishing is difficult and dangerous, but the politics of squid fishing is more frustrating and divisive.

Fancy Food Show 2004-B: Dinon

Of all the seafood companies at the 2004 Fancy Food Show, Dinon, an Italian company, produces the most beautiful looking ready-to-eat foods both seafood and vegetable. Their mission is close to my own for Papa George Gourmet Albacore...the goal is continuous improvement when you never rest on your laurels. Make a good product and give great service. In their "Fishing Line", Dinon displays sardines, mackerel, and white anchovies, headed and gutted, marinated, and packed in oil in small tubs..for deli and restaurant use. The artistic packing makes the ordinary look extraordinary. The "Salted and Smoked Line" displays anchovies which are headed, washed, brined in layers, and ripened in a press. Some are packed in salt and some in a green parsley sauce.
This display was delectable! It was a small part of The Italian section which was one of the largest in the International area. It will be an inspiration for future product development and for its artistry of packing.

Monday, January 26, 2004
Fancy Food Show 2004 and Fishing
First of all, we are a fishing family...that means when crew members don't show up, the family gets to fill in. So squid fishing I went last night, and not surprisingly, it was the cook who quit. It's never a hardship to whip up a dish that needs baking when the boats rocking and rolling because our oven has built in vertical rails on the racks and well as plenty of tin cans to wedge the baking dish in solid. I remember often wiring the lid on a roasting pan to cook a pot roast in the rough waters of Cape Lutke, AK. Wind 35 knots SE, swells 10-12 feet. Rough fishing and awful cooking weather. Cooks keep on cooking no matter what because food is fuel.

Now for the Fancy Food Show. One of my favorite booths was not in the show book. It was a beautifully laid out set-up with a refrigetrated case and a side shelf for samples. It's claim to fame was a "top shelf chacuterie". When you taste the samples of a Truffle Mousse: pork & poultry livers and pork meat accented with sherry, truffles, and wild mushrooms, or a Pheasant Rosemary Pate, the flavors melted in your mouth and produced a delightful blend of rich taste. The folks at Alexian Pate are committed to producing the finest pates, terrines, and mousse(s) from all natural ingredients, either organic or with certified origins. By the way...what is the plural of mousse??? Another link to explore is Seacrest Foods which shows a display of Alexian Pate. This booth was an inspiration in both product and design. It made me want to invent new albacore and mackerel pates and terrines which combine Papa George products with fresh organic vegetables from our Farmers Markets.

Friday, January 23, 2004
US 101 takes me to San Pedro & the Papa George
The Fancy Food Show was an inspiration! I will write about it soon.
Recently in Seattle. our albacore was mentioned in an excellent radio interview with Greg Atkinson, a food writer, consultant, and former chef of the famous Seattle restaurant...Canlis. The program called "The Beat" on January 20th, 2004 had a segment called "Tuna, in a Can" with Meagan Sukees. The interview can be listened to with Real Player by clicking on the "Listen to this story" bar in the middle of the page. Then, let the Real Player load, and fast forward the minute counter to 21:20 minutes where the interview begins. Greg Atkinson is an advocate of Pacific Northwest troll caught albacore because it has three times the Omega-3 oils of longline caught albacore, and much less mercury. Plus it has a marvelous flavor both canned or fresh. Check out this interview.

Monday, January 19, 2004
Coasting down 101 to the Fancy Food Show
With 60 cases of tuna, gift boxes and jerky onboard "Old Bess", my rolling office and van, I headed for the Oregon Coast towards California. Destination....F/V Papa George with my husband, Steve, in command...tied up in San Pedro. But on the way, I'll stop at a few places .....
First food stop was in Tillamook, Oregon to taste the famous Brie cheeses at Blue Heron Wine and Cheese Company. Bought two small wheels in wooden boxes for gifts with a very nice logo on the box. Inside was the original creamy Brie for which Blue Heron is famous.

Next destination was Healdsburg, CA to look at the olive grove producing Tuscan type olives for DaVero. Our gourmet albacore in olive oil is canned in the imported DaVero from Lucca, Italy. The Dry Creek DaVero is grown outside of Healdsburg. This grove is a family owned business and is not open to the public. It does produce a delicious blend of 50% Leccino, 25% Frantoio, 15% Maurino, and 10% Pendolino olives which is an artisan extra virgin olive oil called "Dry Creek Estate".

Down the road on the way to Sonoma, near Jack London village, is the Olive Press which was created in the spirit of the European olive pressing co-operatives. It houses an Italian state of the art press by Pieralisi with a hammermill crusher.

Then Sonoma....A lovely square with a bustling bakery on a Sunday! The Sonoma Valley visitors center in the square gave me a lot of Olive Oil Festival material. The Winter months are the olive oil months here. Now there are olive oil tours as well as winery tours. Things have really changed since I was last here in 1988. Our boat was fishing for herring in San Francisco so we brought a loaf of sourdough bread, a few cooked dungeness crab,
and rented a Lincoln Continental to fit us all for a Sonoma Valley wine tasting tour. Our best stop was at Sebastiani.

Some things come full circle. This trip I was able to visit the vineyard of the grandson of Samuel is a winery and Italian marketplace called Viansa. There are 90 acres of wetlands ajoining the winery with numerous diving ducks and red-wing blackbirds. Viansa also grows over 1000 olive trees for their own brand of extra virgin olive oil. The marketplace contains two wine tasting bars and a dozen tasting kiosks of tappenades,
relishes & mustards as well as Tuscan plates and etched wine glasses. Of the five wines I tasted, the most impressive to my uneducated but not unexperienced wine buds, was the 2001 "Lorenzo" which retails at $45.00 a bottle. If I remember correctly it is a blend of Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, and Merlot. It was one of those complex wines with good body that I truly love but don't know how to say why in winey terms.

Tomorrow will be total food immersion at the Fancy Food Show...Mosconni Center..San Francisco. Think I'll park Old Bess and take BART instead.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Winterfest Recipes
Thanks for your patience. Here are the four recipes which we featured at the Papa George Gourmet Albacore & Seafoods booth. My warmest thanks to Connie & Nick Pashe who volunteered to help in our booth.

Tuna & White Bean Salad

2 cans cannellini beans (rinsed & drained)
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 small minced red onion
1 small chopped red pepper or tomato
2 cans Papa George Gourmet Albacore
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
1/4 cup chopped italian parsley
a good pinch of dried or fresh basil & oregano
salt & pepper

1. Rinse & drain beans. Chop &/or
dice onion, cucumber, pepper &/or
Add chunks of albacore.
2. Make vinagrette in small bowl.
Whisk with fork to blend. Pour over
salad. Mix all together gently. Sliced
black oilives can be used as garnish.

and Black Cod Garnish

2 pounds udon noodles, cooked
& cooled
1/2 lb. smoked black cod, flaked
2-3 cups vegetables (boiled 1 min.
then plunged into ice water)
suggested veggies: sugar peas or
snow peas, mushrooms, broccoli,
bok choy, red pepper
2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 minced clove garlic
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 Tbsp. mirin
2 Tbsp. sake
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. fresh wasabi paste
1/4 cup mayo
(prepared seaweed & sesame seeds)

Tuna Tapenade

1 can Papa George Gourmet Albacore
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. mayo (low-fat OK)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. italian parsley
1 tsp. tarragon (dried)
1 tsp. dijon mustard

1. Blend all ingredients in a
Cuisinart until smooth.
2. Use on bruchetta or small
toasts. Garnish with a sprig
of dill or a strip of roasted
red pepper or a caper.

Tuna, Pasta, & Red Pepper Sauce
A quick warm or cool dinner:
1 lb. small seashell pasta
8 oz. roasted red pepper, chopped
1 can Papa George Gourmet Albacore
separate into chunks
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. capers
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper (can use a
pinch of red pepper flakes too)

1.While pasta is cooking, assemble
the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
2.Gently mix in hot drained pasta and serve.
Garnish with fresh parsley, chopped black
olives or more capers
3.Dine...a ten minute meal!

Monday, January 12, 2004
Winterfest and Beyond.....
Winterfest at Columbia Winery was a great event! The weather was foggy and cool but inside the winery was warm and congenial. I promised a number of celebrants that I would have all the recipes on line here by Monday night, but if you will bear with me, I will have them Tuesday morning. It was a busy Monday doing errands in Seattle, which allowed me finally to reach our Kingston cabin at 8 pm. My apologies for being tardy with the recipes, but they will go on this site first thing Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Columbia Winery Show-Winterfest
Winter is all around us and that includes this weekend at the Columbia Winery. The annual winetasting event is Winterfest. Our booth will be upstairs next to the winetasting room. First I have to make it out of our driveway in Kingston. The snow melts slowly.

Our squid fishing venture in Southern California is in high gear. Earlier in the week, there were few signs of squid in the usual spots. However, the calmer weather allows the squid to gather and accumulate. Stormy weather makes the squid keep to the canyons and deeper water. First we check for sea surface temperatures, which for optimium squid fishing fall between 11-14 degrees C., in the area of the Channel Islands..(34N X 120W). Then we check the radiofax picture which gives a satellite view of inclement weather called the 24-hr. Surface view. If you look towards the bottom, it shows the millibar lines to be wide apart. That means good weather to us. Steve relies on local VHF weather reports to complete his analysis. Over the years Steve and I have learned how to be amateur forecasters with the usual errors. It is critical to albacore fishing to understand the movement of storms.

My spell checker is nuts! Yes, cannellini bean was spelled wrong recently. My high school grammar book "Warriners" and vocabulary list, "The Andover Word List" would shudder at this spell checker.

Thursday, January 01, 2004
We're off the list for 2004!
Happy New Year my friends. We are officially off the "What's In and Out List". Last year, "avoiding albacore" was "In" but this year it is "Out". I never knew this until I heard it mentioned on the Today Show yesterday when Hank Stuever of the Washington Post style section was interviewed about his annual list. Maybe our critics in Washington DC are tiring of flogging the mercury in albacore issue.
I joined Slow Food USA today. The people I have met in the Seattle convivium have been enlightening and fun. They really do enjoy connecting the fish with the fisherman. Their webpage lists upcoming events and membership opportunities. I find that volunteering at FORKS and Slow Food events is a great way to meet other foodies, chefs, and entrepreneurs.

Perhaps now that BSE or mad cow disease has grabbed the headlines, more folks will research the sources of their food. I have been involved with the FDA and King County Health Departments to insure the safety of our fish. Our canner and smoker are both inspected monthly and have HAACP plans for every process. These plans provide a paper trail of my fish from when it enters their facility, to when I pick it up.
Temperarture is the most important variable with fish, and it is on record. Also our cold-storage keeps a record of incoming and outgoing temperatures of the fish. On our boat, we have three temperature gauges to monitor our fish. Our sardine and squid temps are recorded when unloading, and our albacore temps are recorded every day onboard and when we unload. Our chain of events from catch to market can be and is documented at every step for your safety. In addition, we regularly test our canned products at a professional laboratory in Portland, OR. We do a Standard Plate Count. It is my goal always to have the highest standards in our fish handling, from sea to shore and beyond.

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