Many Americans now know the names of the farms that grow their food, but even as we’re urged to eat more seafood for its health benefits, few of us can identify local species or the fishing operations that supply them. These overlooked fish are important to our regional food traditions, and deserve to share the culinary limelight with heirloom vegetables, farmstead cheeses, and pastured meats.
The time is ripe for local fish. On September 25, Bon Appétit Management Company will host its first-ever Eat Local (Fish) Challenge, to be held simultaneously in all 32 states in which we operate. The event is a new twist on our Eat Local Challenge, which began in 2005 as a way to highlight locally harvested, seasonal flavors.
“Local” doesn’t always equal sustainable, however, whether you’re talking about peaches or perch. That’s where Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch comes in. Conscientious consumers have long depended on the science-based red (Avoid), yellow (Good Alternative), and green (Best Choice) ratings of Seafood Watch’s wallet cards and smartphone apps. Some local fisheries are too small to have been among the thousands rated by Seafood Watch. The nonprofit is launching an innovative new program that will train scientists in its methodology so that third parties — such as Bon Appétit — can apply to have a species (and its catch methods) assessed and rated.
Please join @bamco and @seafoodwatch for a Twitter chat about #localfish on Monday, September 24, at 12pm Pacific.
@bamco: Helene York, architect of Bon Appétit’s Fish to Fork program and named a 2010 Seafood Champion by SeaWeb, and BAMCO Director of Communications Bonnie Azab Powell.
@seafoodwatch: Sheila Bowman, senior outreach manager, and other members of the Seafood Watch team.
How to join the discussion: You don’t need to “follow” either account to participate — although we’d love for you to! — just the hashtag #localfish. Shortly before 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern, go to the website TweetChat, which provides a free, virtual room in which to have our discussion. Log into your Twitter account via TweetChat, and type in the #hashtag #localfish to get into that room. (Tweet Chat is a safe tool that conveniently groups the tweets for you and automatically adds the hashtag when you reply, but you can participate using whatever Twitter interface you prefer.)
Agenda for #localfish chat
We’ll follow this schedule, more or less — it’s fine to swim off in another direction!
Introductions — who we are, who YOU are, why you’re giving up some of your afternoon to discuss this
Discuss Question 1 (Q1). Seafood is arguably the healthiest protein out there. What do you think is stopping Americans from eating more of it?
Q2. Do you seek out local food, and if so, is seafood on your market list? Why or why not?
Q3. How do you define “local” seafood?
Q4. Do you ask questions about whether it’s sustainably caught or farmed?
Q5. What would get you to eat more local fish?
Last thoughts, wrap-up
REMINDER: @bamco is also hosting a Twitter chat Thursday, September 20 at 12pm Pacific, about what “food service for a sustainable future” should look like, under the hashtag #BAsustain. Details and agenda >