You’d have to go down and meet the fishermen at the docks to get a fresher – or wider – selection of seafood than you’ll find in our Markets. The stars of our show are wild salmon – fresh Alaskan in season (May-September); Bruce Gore-caught, fresh-frozen Alaskan salmon year-round; Lummi Island reefnet salmon (July-October); Copper River salmon (usually available only for about a month, starting in mid-May); and, as available, Aleutia Sockeye Salmon Fillets. Alaska is a well-managed, sustainable fishery and the Lummi method is said to be the most sustainable method in the world. Alaskan Halibut is another show stopper – it’s usually available fresh every month except November-February when you can find Bruce Gore-caught frozen halibut.
Here are some other highlights of our selection:
- Kodiak Pacific Cod (January/February) (Note – This fish was formerly called “True” Cod)
- Fresh King Crab (October-January)
- Local Dungeness Crab (Just about year-round)
- Spot Prawns (April-December)
- Dinglebar Ling Cod (May/June)
Optimum freshness is why you can find Dungeness Crabs, North Atlantic Lobster, Spot Prawns and several varieties of local oysters and clams in our live tanks, unique to our Central Market stores. Look for live King Crab in December – but don’t put your hands in the tanks! These tanks turn over their water at least six times an hour, and are outfitted with multipe filtration systems.
Bruce Gore Salmon
Bruce Gore salmon is individually caught by hook and line, bled and flash frozen onboard, and is individually handled to prevent bruising. Bruce Gore of Bainbridge Island perfected the innovative process in the 1970s, setting the standard for unsurpassed quality.
This salmon also is known for stringent onboard sanitation, having no chemical additives, and complete traceability – each fish gets a tracking number that identifies where it was caught and by what boat. The fresh Alaska waters where this salmon is caught has been managed since the 1950s and the salmon – Silver, King and Sockeye – get to our stores within 24 to 48 hours of being caught. The fish travel from Alaska on barges – using fewer energy resources than arriving via airplane. Bruce continues to serve as an onboard consultant to the company he started, Triad Fisheries.
Lummi Island Reef Net Salmon
Reef netting, used by Native Americans for centuries, is now used by select fishermen in the San Juans and nowhere else in the world. Reef netters create an elaborate funnel of lines and ribbons suspended between two anchored boats. “Spotters,” standing on towers, watch for schools of salmon to swim along the reef and over the net. When a school is observed, the net is quickly pulled up. Reef netters use gentle handling and processing methods and the fish are live-bled. Rather than burning fuel chasing the salmon, the barges remain stationary. When the net is pulled in, the fish are sorted and all unwanted and protected species are harmlessly released back into the water. There is minimal disruption of marine mammals, birds or the environment. Reef net salmon are among the highest in flavorful and healthful omega-3 oils because they still have the fats they have stored for their journey.
Aleutia Sockeye Salmon Fillets
You can find frozen Aleutia Sockeye Salmon Fillets from September through the early winter, or sometimes into May. Aleutia is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by fishing families along Alaska’s remote Eastern Aleutian Islands and Western Peninsula. It was created to share the best of the traditional ocean sockeye harvest and tell the story of an unknown region and the families there, with proceeds supporting local communities. The sockeye are harvested by families in a low-volume, meticulous fishering – each fish is hand selected, iced immediately and inspected three times before it can bear the Aleutia name.