Food facts: How do I find local, wild-caught fish?
Written by Sarah J. Sturtevant   

Enjoy these food facts from Sarah J. Sturtevant, Founder and CEO of sustainable food company, SaCaR Enterprises LLC and contributing author to Local In Season. 

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  More than 90% of seafood consumed in the US is imported.  The species that American’s most often eat (e.g. Tuna, Salmon, Cod, Shrimp), are not as plentiful in Northeastern waters, it is easier/cheaper to import and processing is often done outside the US.

Roughly 70% of seafood consumed in the US is eaten in restaurants.  Not knowing how to cook fish, uncertainty as to the “shelf life” of fresh fish, cost and the smell are reasons often sited for not cooking seafood at home.

New England fishing volume has declined by  40+% since 1950.  Retailers sell consumers the species of fish they demand.  Consumers’ preferences have not kept pace with local fish availability, and changing preferences towards local, and plentiful, species is a slow process.  

There are no US organic standards for fish farming.  Farmed fish may be fed GMO soy meal.  Wild caught fish may not use the “organic” label either, although it’s highly unlikely wild fish are consuming non-organic food.

There are 5 wild species which are bountiful in Northeastern waters, and considered underutilized.  These species are well managed and a key to sustaining the fishing industry in the Northeast.

Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) provides verification of responsibly harvested seafood that is traceable to the Gulf of Maine.

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Almost Summer Corn Soup
Right Food for the Season - Late Spring
Written by Michelle Lahey   

The act of shucking fresh, locally grown corn is not only therapeutic, but it also signals that it’s [almost] summer. And although we may be a little early on the corn front, we found some beautiful cobs at the Union Square Farmers’ Market last weekend.

Unfortunately, our grill had cooled down a bit too much before we put the cobs on, resulting in a rather al dente finished product. Faced with a fridge full of perfectly good corn cobs, I decided to turn them into a silky, flavorful soup – perfect for filling the time (and fresh corn void) until summer comes along. 

The key to this soup is the corn stock. Like just about any homemade stock, this corn-based version is packed with fresh flavor – plus a kick of heat thanks to the peppercorns and crushed red pepper flakes. I used the greens from leeks that I had in my freezer, but feel free to throw in a chopped onion instead, if you so choose. Some fresh herbs (like thyme) would also be great in this stock, if you have them on-hand. 

No matter what ingredients you use in your corn stock, I highly recommend serving this healthy soup with some crusty bread for dipping, or even alongside some grilled burgers or sausages. It’s on the thinner side, so a satiating entrée will complement it beautifully.

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Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero
Local Libations - Local Libations
Written by Michelle Lahey   

Spring is playing a cruel, cruel joke on us right now. Here in New England, we’re having sporadic 60-degree days with plenty of sunshine, followed by several days of rain, wind, and cold. What gives?

Clown Shoes beer

The only thing making me slightly OK with this colder weather is that stout season is still here. Nothing makes a wet, dreary day brighter than a full-bodied, delicious, dark stout.

One I am currently loving is Clown Shoes Beer’s Chocolate Sombrero. Clown Shoes brews out of Mercury Brewing Co. in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and their mission is to produce beer without pretension. That’s a goal I can get behind, especially when it comes to alcohol. 

Clown Shoe’s Chocolate Sombrero is a Mexican-style chocolate stout that clocks in at 9% abv. This year-round brew packs a punch of rich chocolate flavor combined with the subtle spice of ancho chiles. The chiles are further cooled down with the help of a little cinnamon and some sweet, apparent vanilla extract. The sweet and spicy combination is spot-on in each sip, making this fairly strong beer a little too easy to consume. 

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Greek Lentil Salad
Right Food for the Season - Early Spring
Written by Michelle Lahey   

The warmer weather can only mean one thing: cookout season is almost here.

Most barbecues I attend feature grilled meats and veggies, with the typical salads to accompany them: pasta, potato, and/or a simple green salad. And although these

 nostalgic dishes are welcome cookout accompaniments, I’m looking to amp things up this year. Specifically with this Greek Lentil Salad.

Chocked full of spring-friendly green onions and fresh parsley, this protein-packed salad has all the flavors and textures you need for a satiating side dish. The salty olives and feta mixed with the fresh lemon juice and spicy onions makes each bite borderline addictive. The lentils are also like tiny little sponges that soak up every single flavor in the bowl.

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Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Right Food for the Season - Early Winter
Written by Michelle Lahey   

When I was little, I said I didn’t like Brussels sprouts because everyone else said they were “gross.” But I never even tried a Brussels sprout until I was well into my twenties – it was roasted to perfection, and ideally salty. From that moment on, my opinion of Brussels sprouts was forever changed. 

Brussels sprouts – which look like little baby cabbages - are one versatile leafy green vegetable, but my favorite way to prepare them is by roasting. Roasting any vegetable brings out their natural sweetness, and Brussels sprouts are no different. Roasting also gives them a delightful crispiness and texture.

Although the roasting method makes Brussels sprouts just sweet enough, adding a little maple syrup – this one from Ithaca, N.Y. – doesn’t hurt. The touch of maple syrup also gives the sprouts a glaze that’s borderline addicting. In this particular recipe, I also threw in some dried cranberries and roasted sunflower seeds for added texture, flavor, and color. The end result is a winter-friendly side dish that can be served with a variety of main dishes.

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Holy Mole! from Night Shift Brewing Co.
Local Libations - Local Libations
Written by Michelle Lahey   

Some people love the combination of chocolate with wine. Others love to pair their chocolate with a spicy, peppery beer. 

Night Shift Brewing Co.’s taproom regulars had been requesting a mix of their Viva Habanero and Taza Stout for quite a while - and the brewers finally gave in. A few weeks ago, they released Holy Mole!, a blend of these two popular brews. As a bonus, the blend was aged in Bourbon barrels, which were provided by Liquor World in Cambridge (the only store – besides the brewery – that got a few bottles to sell).

The bitter chocolate and cocoa blended with the smoky, spicy habanero is one successful fusion. The hint of bourbon in each sip just makes you want to cozy up to a fireplace and do nothing but sip on this 8.5% ABV beer. The heat from the peppers is slightly mellowed out from the smooth chocolate, fulfilling any spicy-and-sweet cravings you may have – while preventing the flavor from being too fiery.

I enjoyed each and every sip of this limited release brew on its own, but it is just light enough to play well with food. The slight richness from the stout also makes it decadent enough to have as an after dinner libation.

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