Here’s some history: Iliamna Fish Company was the first. Greenpointer Christopher Nicolson and his extended family spend their summers fishing for wild sockeye salmon in the waters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Rather than selling the entire catch to the local cannery, he had the brilliant idea to bring it to the people, in Brooklyn, and a CSF was born. Iliamna pre-sells shares in the catch each spring, and members pick up their piece of the action at the Brooklyn Kitchen in September.
This spring, Mermaid’s Garden, the brainchild of fish fanatics Mark Usewicz (chef at Park Slope’s Palo Santo) and his wife Bianca Picillo dropped a local twist on the fledgling CSF scene. They partnered with local commercial fishermen to offer Brooklynites shares in the weekly catch, creating access to super-fresh, locally-caught fish – something that was stunningly hard to find before their early June debut.
Unfortunately, Iliamna’s 2012 shares are long sold-out, and the Mermaid’s Garden June/July season was all booked-up in a matter of days (although a late summer season is on tap).
But fret not, people – Brooklyn’s third CSF is about to debut. Williamsburg’s Depanneur has partnered with Gabe The Fish Babe, who supplies wicked local catch to places like, oh…Roberta’s, Allswell, Northeast Kingdom, Buttermilk Channel, Roman’s, Rucola and Fort Defiance to name a few, to bring the fish to you.
Gabe Stommel (the Fish Babe), works directly with a group of Rhode Island-based fishermen. The Babe/Depanneur ‘Fish Club’ will be hooking locals up every Sunday with fish and shellfish caught by the Rhode Island Dayboat fleet within the previous 24 hours. That is fresh. And fresh is good.
Here’s Gabe hawkin’ it with style:
“Welcome to a world of iki jime fluke and black sea bass in rigormortis. Wild and delicious food from the wavy waters of Rhode Island. Urchins, clams, oysters and other gill-bearing, sea-faring critters and creatures of planet earth. Save the fishermen, eat local fish. Join the Fish Club, add years of happiness to your life.”
Ahhh…the world of iki jime fluke is a wonderful place indeed. And there’s no commitment required for this one. If you want fish you just need to sign up each week before Thursday at Depanneur in order to secure your score for the following Sunday.
“For $50 you’ll get a bag of goodies that feeds 2-4 people. Each delivery includes a bag of shellfish, either 20 clams or 12 oysters in rotation AND 18-20 ounces of fresh local fin-fish – filleted, or 2 whole fish, cleaned and ready to grill. Each pack is vacuum sealed to ensure freshness and are all guaranteed to stay fresh for at least five days when properly refrigerated.
For June and July the selection includes: Fluke, Porgies, Striped Bass, Bluefish, Squid, Black Sea Bass, Scallops, Swordfish, Tuna, Shark and Live Crabs.”
What’s not to like? And come on, who doesn’t want to be in a fish club?