If you like food and you’re interested in supporting your local food purveyors, you probably know all about Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs. A farmer offers “shares” to the public, you subscribe and are provided with a box of the farm’s finest pickings on a regular basis throughout the growing season. You have access to the freshest produce possible and your farmer has the luxury of focusing on growing (rather than marketing) during the peak of the season. Everyone goes home happy.
What you may not know is that fisheries around the country follow this selling model as well, with Community Supported Fisheries. Like CSAs, subscribers receive whatever the fisheries have to offer, usually on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. While the subscriber often chooses the basic contents of the share — whole fish versus fillets, shrimp versus lobster — shares are subject to change based on the weather and well-being of the fishery; subscribing to a CSF ties your consumption to the ocean, forging a direct connection between your plate and your environment.
If you’re in the Boston area, try Cape Ann Fresh Catch, offering pick-up in Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Harvard Square, and many other Boston area neighborhoods (deadline for joining the Spring 2012 season is May 3rd, application here). If you’re a lover of shrimp, try the hand-peeled fresh shrimp CSF from Port Clyde Fresh Catch. Based on the West Coast? Try SIREN SeaSA in the Bay Area, or S. L. O. Catch in Santa Barbara County, CA.
Check out the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance’s list of CSFs around the country, and if you can’t find one that delivers to a neighborhood near you, reach out to the fishery of your choice — fisheries are often willing to add new drop-off locations to their list!