One fish, two fish, redfish, bluefish

Monkfish and redfish from Something GUD

This dish, courtesy of Something GUD ingredients: salad greens (with ranch dressing); monkfish, cajun-blackened redfish, and roasted root vegetables.

In my first Catch of the Week order from Something GUD, I was surprised to see a package of fish called scup. I vaguely recalled that there was such a fish, but that’s it. However, there was a QR code on the fish, so I scanned it with my phone, wondering if it would tell me a recipe or something.

No recipe, but I found out everything but that fishie’s horoscope, thanks to the website of fish distributor Red’s Best. It was caught by Fisherman Tom Dowd on the fishing vessel Equinox, using Otter Trawl gear, and anchored in the port of Falmouth. It was caught wild, and sustainably harvested.

Sometimes a good fishmonger or market knows where your fish came from. Sometimes the information gets a little lost out to sea. That’s the cool thing about fish purchased from Red’s Best: it’s traceable. You know not only about the fish you just purchased, but also information about the fisherman, the boat and gear type, and port that it came in from.

Further research on the Red’s Best website showed that Dowd has been a self-employed fisherman since 1970, after serving in the Coast Guard, and likes to fish in Nantucket Sound, close to home. I like knowing something about my fisherman.

Not only are all the fish from Red’s local fish, but Red’s Best also controls the physical chain of custody, delivering it from vessel to the customer, in this case, via Something GUD, all the while maintaining temps and sanitary conditions. Red’s Best boasts fish often days fresher than what is sold in supermarkets for the same price, because it skips the fish market and auction house. Many sushi chefs order from Red’s for this reason.

In other words, it’s an opportunity to trust that your wild seafood and fish  are caught locally, labeled correctly, and subjected to quality controls, with minimal carbon footprint.

Boston-based Red’s Best was founded in 2008 by Jared “Red” Auerbach, a young entrepreneur and former commercial fisherman whose goal is to educate consumers and help independent fishermen through technology.

Fish go from the boats of small-scale and responsible fishermen via Red’s to markets around the country. By supporting smaller boats, it benefits the environment and coastal communities; but smaller catches means more dock landings, which means more paperwork. Red’s Best’s software cuts down on the red tape, and helps them to comply with “green” laws, to track fishing quotas, and to profit from catch sales via phone, web, satellite, email, or SMS. This in turn makes it affordable for the little boats.

He added that supporting 200 boats rather than a huge industrial fishing boat is better for our New England coastal towns. “It’s so cool seeing these small towns with working waterfronts,” he was quoted as saying. “Sustaining these communities is good for tourism and everyone’s health.”

While many small fishermen often can’t afford  “certified sustainable” labels, by using the QR code you can track the fish, and look up sustainability reports on seafood guides maintained by National Geographic or Seafood Watch. “We follow all the government rules, give you all the info on this fish, and you can make your own decision,” said Auerbach.

***

So… about that scup. Was it a trash fish? It’s not a household name like cod, haddock, or flounder, although that’s also often available at Something GUD. Through a little research, I learned that scup, also known as porgy, is a plentiful and sustainable yet underutilized fish. Cooked in butter, salt and pepper, it was easy to make, and reminded me of scallops. I can’t wait to get more.

When I ordered a Pescatarian box, it came with three orders of fish: monkfish, scallops and redfish. Now, I get scallops all the time, but I would never had thought about buying the other two, which was a good thing. Sometimes I just get into a rut of picking up cod/salmon/tilapia rut, with an occasional trout.But I like trying new food.

Scallops are one of my favorite fast-food dishes. Saute them in olive oil and butter, with salt, pepper and a lemon squeeze, and boom, it’s dinner. But I had wondered whether they were sustainable, or more importantly, responsibly taken from the water. Thanks to my QR report, and a quick check with Seafood Watch, I eased my mind, learning that scallops thrive on plankton, so no questionable fish feed or antibiotics are necessary; they’re native to this area, and harvesting them causes no environmental harm.

Monkfish? Again, this local and sustainable fish is something I usually ignore at the market. But since it’s in my Pescatarian box, I’m a little more adventurous. And what a nice, sweet taste it has.

The first time I made it, there was an unpleasant, milky sauce that came out of it, so I did a little research, and found a Jamie Oliver trick of rubbing the monkfish with a grind of salt, lemon zest and rosemary (I used the rosemary that I received in the Pescatarian order) and letting it marinate in the fridge about an hour before cooking. This draws out excess moisture, preventing this particular fish from boiling in its own juices. Pat dry, and prepare as you would.

Here’s Jamie’s recipe. However, I used a much simpler recipe from food.com, with a lemon-butter and wine sauce that worked quite nicely.

That left  us with the redfish. I hadn’t had this since, oh, New Orleans I think? Wait, wasn’t this a fish endangered from too many New Orleans cooks making blackened redfish? I scanned the QR code, and it came up with this: fisherman Jimmy Santapolo of Gloucester, who caught it with a gill net.

So it’s not actually the same fish from New Orleans. Acadian or Atlantic redfish, also known as ocean perch, is not to be confused with the redfish caught in the Gulf of Mexico. Local redfish levels had crashed in the 1950s, but thanks to area closures, fishing gear restrictions, and minimum fish size limits to rebuild the redfish population, the Acadian redfish population rebounded and was declared fully rebuilt in 2012. The Acadian redfish stock now exceeds target population levels, and is considered sustainable.

i did use a Cajun blackened redfish recipe anyway, and it came out great. Too spicy for our 11-year-old, but he liked the monkfish anyway.

***
If you want to order some of Red’s Best, you can get it several ways at Something GUD:

  • The Pescatarian box, which gives you three orders of fish. (each order of fish, by the way, feeds 2-3 people.)
  • The Paleo and Gluten-Free boxes, which provide one order of fish.
  • Or you can order it a la carte, and receive whatever Red delivers that week as a “catch of the week” (regular or kosher), or scallops.

As of the week of  Feb. 2, this is what was offered:

The Pescatarian Box:
Red’s Best – Scallops
Red’s Best – Fluke
Red’s Best – Skate
Seasonal Vegetable Selection
Seasonal Fruit Selection
Seasonal Salad Greens
Baby Green Frilly Kale – Schartner Farm – conventional
Rosemary – Gilberties Herbs – organic
Iggy’s Bakery – Country Round

Paleo Box of the Week:
Red’s Best – Scallops
Seasonal Vegetable Selection
Seasonal Fruit Selection
Seasonal Salad Greens
Baby Green Frilly Kale – Schartner Farm – conventional
Rosemary – Gilberties Herbs – organic
Feather Brook Farm – 12 Eggs
Virginia & Spanish Co. – Mixed Nuts
Lilac Hedge Farm – Stir Fry Beef

Gluten-free  Box of the Week:
Red’s Best – Scallops
Seasonal Vegetable Selection
Seasonal Fruit Selection
Seasonal Salad Greens
Baby Green Frilly Kale – Schartner Farm – conventional
Rosemary – Gilberties Herbs – organic
Feather Brook Farm – 6 Eggs
MOM’s Organic Munchies – Goji Bar
Sophia’s Greek Pantry – Honey Yogurt
Maple Nut Kitchen – Paleo Edition Granola

Welcome to Something GUD

Our team, surrounded by our GUDs.

Our team, surrounded by our GUDs.

We are a group of friends who just want to do Something GUD: promote sustainability by connecting area farmers and food artisans with people wishing for a convenient way to get high-quality, locally sourced food. In June 2013, we launched Something GUD as an online version of a farmers’ market. We’re your connection for a variety of local food and beverages: seasonal produce, organic chicken and meats, fresh fish, organic granola, Greek yogurt, handcrafted cheeses, smoothies, natural soda, salsas and tortillas, pasta, sauces, herbs, candy, breads, pastries, and we keep adding more.

We deliver for free within the I-95 belt around Boston. Pickup is also available at our Somerville warehouse.

“We’re just trying to make things easier for the farmer and the consumer,” says Colin Davis, cofounder and company president.

We are a Massachusetts Benefit Corporation with the intention of improving the food distribution system in a way that is good for the consumer, the producer, and the environment. To do this: we find the most responsibly made local food, attempt to make it as convenient as possible to get that food from the producer to the consumer, and do so with the smallest environmental footprint we can.

We’re targeting a cross-section of customers. The foodies. Farmers’ marketgoers. Those looking to stock the pantries of their kids, grandparents, and office kitchens. Michael Pollan fans trying to eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Neighborhoods starved of fresh produce. The car-free types. The time-deprived.

Something GUD understands that most people are creatures of habit: if a customer can sign up for weekly deliveries of a bag of curated groceries, they will get into the habit of welcoming fruit such as crunchy apples, vegetables such as lush bushes of kale and swiss chard, eggs from area chicken and ducks, grass-fed milk, hormone-free meat. There’s no long-term obligation, and it’s easy to adjust deliveries as needed.

You can order just one item; mix and match what you need; or leave it up to us to make up a bag of items: vegetarian, pescatarian, paleo, and other combos.

Prices are in the farmers’ market/Whole Foods range. The curated bags are a good deal; add on a few items and you may be set for the week, for about $50-$75. There’s prepared whole-foods items like fresh pasta and sauces, soups, and meals. For even busier customers, there’s the grab-and-go boxes, with items that don’t even need to be cooked. Some treats aren’t made with local ingredients, but are created locally, such as our local chocolate makers.

What also comes with each bag of food is a direct connection to the food source. Said Davis to The Somerville Beat, “Distance in all its forms decreases our ability to act humanely. If you make people feel less distance and more connected, they will make better decisions.”

Thank you for thinking globally by eating locally.

Only Radio Is the Farmer’s Friend

Meet Mallam Issa Salifu from a farming community near Nangodi, Ghana. Mr. Salifu farmers maize, millet and fish. He says his companion is his radio from morning
till he sleeps.

Radio has helped him very much ever since Radio Gurune started broadcasting in his local language about 4 year ago.

He said: “We have  farmland all around the red Volta river, where sometimes we get floods and all my farms are washed away. But, the radio gives me information about farming techniques. I changed the type of maize I was sowing to a short maturing variety, and last season I had a good harvest. So, my family will feed on this harvest till the next farming season. I also provide fish for making soup and what is left, I sell in order to provide for other needs of the family.”

Standing by the tree where he dries fish to feed his family, Mr. Salifu is full of praise for the initiators of the radio programmes. He says they should continue because only radio is the farmer’s friend.

This story is told by Lydia Ajono from Bolgatanga, Ghana. Learn more about the Ghana Community Radio Network here.

New Competition Aims to Combat World’s Dead Zones

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Excessive fertilizer and sewage can be deadly. There are zones in our lakes and oceans, where all life is literally wiped out. Here is a new competition that seeks to combats dead, dirty water. If you have an idea for a sustainable solution, you could be one to bring back life, and be the latest millionaire for it too! Read more here, and submit your entry before April 11, 2014.

The Dirt

Tulane University is offering a $1 million prize to the team who comes up with the best solution for combating hypoxia-affected waters, the dead zones in the world’s lakes and oceans. Hypoxia is the oxygen depletion in water bodies caused by “excessive amounts of river-borne fertilizers and other nutrients.” Tulane’s grand challenge is a response to President Obama’s call for universities and philanthropies to step up and pursue innovative solutions to our most pressing environmental problems.

Coastal and inland lake ecosystems are increasingly threatened by hypoxia. While the Gulf of Mexico is famous for its growing dead zone, the issue is increasingly global, writes Tulane. “Nutrient enrichment can jeopardize the future of estuaries and coastal wetlands that depend on freshwater and sediment delivery for stability and persistence.”

Dead zones not only have an impact on the environment but also the economy. These unproductive areas “destabilize the businesses, families and communities…

View original post 234 more words

The Earth Through the Astronaut’s Eye

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Absolutely stunning view of our planet, seen from the International Space Station as it passes over.

Not only astonishing but also shocking, the video (5 min) shows just how extensively humans have left their mark: everywhere.

The Earth, not so much a blue dot, but a blazing orb.
Welcome to Anthropocene.

London: World’s Largest Solar Bridge Opened

Blackfriars-solar-bridge

(source: Network Rail)

While in Las Vegas three poles with solar panels, however iconic, seem to be a big deal, London is going for the real stuff. Today Network Rail, which provides Britain’s rail infrastructure, opened the largest solar bridge in the world. Stretching across the river Thames, it boasts 4,400 solar panels, and will provide half the energy to central London’s Blackfriars train station. Blackfriars solar bridge is expected to cut the stations’ carbon emissions by an estimated 511 tonnes a year.

Fabulous Solar Vegas Energy

(source: inhabitat)

(source: inhabitat)

The famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign is now powered by solar energy.