As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to reach all-time highs almost daily and new variants proliferate, it's looking like a long winter ahead, spent mostly at home. Don your aprons folks, the victory lap of #quarantinecuisine is upon us.
Amidst hundreds of family-owned farms in the Hudson Valley, getting fresh produce is easy even in winter, through CSAs, farmers’ markets, and farm stands—some even deliver. But one thing you probably didn’t bet on sourcing locally is fresh fish and seafood. These three innovative Hudson Valley-based businesses are shaking up classic supply chains to deliver fresh seafood right to your door.
Montauk Catch Club
The Montauk Catch Club, recently launched by chef Savannah Jordan and fisherman Parker Hollinger, focuses on delivering fresh seafood throughout the New York metro area and the Hudson Valley. Jordan excelled as a seafood chef at respected kitchens such as Le Bernardin and Mary’s Fish Camp before becoming the executive chef at Ruschmeyers in Montauk in 2016, where she met Hollinger. While working retail and wholesale for Gosman’s Fish Market and managing the fish docks, Hollinger learned to grade and butcher fish for high-end restaurants and markets.
In 2020, because of the severely diminished restaurant demand caused by pandemic restrictions, Hollinger recognized that there was a huge supply of quality fish with no market. So, last summer, he started fishing and selling high-quality seafood to people in his Brooklyn neighborhood. After an overwhelming response, Hollinger asked Jordan to partner up with him to create the catch club. The partners were able to cut out the middleman and ensure that they are the only people handling the fish before it gets to the customer. Weekly selections vary from sushi-grade fluke, tuna, butterfish, “like buttah” swordfish, and shrimp—which either Jordan and Hollinger fish themselves or buy directly off the boats. Last year, the club became a regular vendor at the Rosendale Farmers Market, developing a fast fan base. “Our Hudson Valley base is so special and community-focused; they seem really excited about this new pipeline to the highest quality fish, and our biggest growth has probably been there,” says Jordan. Fresh fish can be picked up each Sunday in the Rosendale parking lot behind the bell tower or at the Beacon Winter Farmers Market; Jordan is also currently offering local deliveries with a $50 minimum order. Though customers are not required to join the club, members receive a weekly email newsletter about the week’s limited fresh catch. Last-minute fresh-off-the boat additions are always available as well. You can subscribe to the club’s email on their website.
Sea to Table
Sea to Table is a distributor that works with fisherman, docks, and processors throughout the US to sell sustainably harvested, quality seafood directly from the docks to consumers and restaurants. With their direct-relationship model, Sea to Table is able to cut out long chains of freezing, shipping, thawing, and handling that most seafood goes through before arriving to consumers. Originally located in Brooklyn, the company is now headquartered in Midtown Kingston (two doors down from Chronogram!).
Sea to Table’s seafood arrives to your doorstep cleaned, portioned, flash frozen, and ready to cook. All of the seafood is wild-caught in US waters, and a proprietary seafood-tracking software let’s customers follow the path of their seafood literally from sea to table. On their website, you can find tips and recipes for what seafood to purchase and delicious ways to prepare it. Selections like Northwest Pacific Halibut, Pacific Black Cod, Maine lobster tails, and Atlantic Sea scallops are just some of the delicious, traceable seafood the company has to offer. You can subscribe to Sea to Table for regular deliveries, or make a one-time purchase.
Hudson Valley Fisheries
With the overnight disappearance of restaurant demand due to COVID lockdowns, in 2020, the seafood industry had to reinvent its sales channels overnight. Sink or swim, as they say. Hudson Valley Fisheries joined a growing number of producers making the pivot to direct-to-consumer sales, rolling out their e-commerce platform in May.