I’ve been inspired by Liz at Pocket Farm to take up the Eat Local Challenge. The challenge is for May this year, and May definitely IS a challenge. I must do my best to eat food that comes from within a 100 mile radius of my home. I used one of the links from the website Liz is using to look at my 100 mile radius.
Whoops! Since 3/4 of my radius is ocean, looks like I’ll be eating lots of fish and seaweed. So the logical first stop was at the local fish market. I asked the owner what was caught within a 100 mile radius. I can eat local scallops, squid, clams and lobsters. And from the fish tray I can eat monkfish, cod, yellow tail flounder and regular flounder. But there’s lots in a seaside fish store like mine that doesn’t meet the local standard. Shrimp, salmon, tilapia, mahi-mahi, grouper, sword, and tuna are all from distant waters. Even bluefish and striped bass, two local staples I have caught myself in the summer, are too far south this time of year.
The swordfish story is a particularly sad one. Not twenty years ago they could be found in local waters. With the introduction of long-lining they were over fished and now a local fisherman has to go out to George’s Bank to bring back any sword. Our local fishermen have kept alive the old harpooning method but just barely and their story is told in a wonderful video called Striker’s Passing. A long-lined swordfish is caught by hooks and is dragged behind the boat and drowned. A harpooned fish is killed instantly and is caught one by one. The difference in flavor is remarkable. It is impossible for a harpooner to compete with long-liner competition. Long-lining creates an indiscriminate killing field that annually snags and drowns over 4 million endangered whales, sea turtles and the like. I won’t order sword that is long-lined.
So looks like I will be “forced” to eat lots of lobster and scallops this May. Poor me.