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We talk with Salt + Sea founder Justine Simon about her business’ unique CSA approach to selling fresh, sustainable seafood locally and about her relationship with Wayside. She also shares a great recipe for homemade fish sticks.

What is Salt + Sea?

I started Salt + Sea a year ago, and currently run the program. It is a fresh fish subscription service. Our members sign up for two-month shares and get weekly deliveries of fish from local boats.

How did Salt + Sea start?

I have a background in food policy, and I used to run a CSA (community supported agriculture). When I moved back to Maine with my husband so he could help his dad with the family fishing business, I noticed a huge difference between the quality of fish that I was eating with them, and the quality of fish that I was able to get in local stores. I started Salt + Sea to make really fresh, premium-quality fish available to more people.

How did you get involved with Wayside?

One of our first delivery sites was at Woodfords Church, and I learned about Wayside through them as a place where we could donate any extra shares. When we have extra fish on hand, we donate to Wayside.

We’ve also been fortunate to be able to rent Wayside’s commercial kitchen space when we make things like fish cakes and chowder, or to host cooking classes for our members.

The cooking classes have been hits! The first was a mussel cooking class, and the second was a class to teach a couple of easy, oven-cooking techniques. Now that the weather is cooling down we have plans for a chowder and soup cooking class with Wayside’s Don Morrison, the reigning king of chowder.

What can consumers do to ensure the viability of Maine’s fisheries?

I think the most important thing that consumers can do to effect positive change is to eat in tune with the ecosystem. That means eating what’s naturally abundant. Redfish, for example, is one of the most plentiful fish in the Gulf of Maine, but is very hard to find in local stores. A big part of what Salt + Sea tries to do is to create markets for these underutilized species. Redfish is now actually one of the most popular fish among our CSF members. 

Another important thing that consumers can do is to make sure they’re buying local fish. Our markets are being flooded with frozen, imported fish that is often sold at a much cheaper price than what is caught by local boats. 90 percent of the fish that Americans eat now is imported. When consumers vote with their wallets and buy local fish, this is a direct investment in local working waterfronts, and is an important way to ensure the continued viability of Maine’s fisheries. 

How do I find more information about Salt & Sea?

By visiting our website at www.saltandsea.me.

 

Homemade fish sticks

 

  • 1 lb pollock
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of Panko
  • pinch of salt
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • lightly oiled baking sheet

Set oven to 425 F

Cut pollock into strips.

Pour milk into a bowl.

Place strips of pollock in bowl and let sit for 5 minutes

Fill another bowl with 1 cup of Panko and some salt. 

Take a few strips of pollock out of milk and roll in Panko.

Place the strips on the baking sheet.

Repeat with second cup of Panko and rest of pollock.

Drizzle with olive oil and bake for ten minutes, or until fish is opaque.