There has never been a better time to serve seafood in the Mid-Atlantic than today … yes, Virginia (and Maryland) there is a Bay coming back to life, the Chesapeake Bay. Feeding into the bay, we have a far-flung network of estuaries, creeks and rivers that give us fresh water delights, as well as any combination of salinity blends as the water flows to the Bay … all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. And while the opportunity to sell a local menu with Maryland and Virginia oysters, clams, striped bass, blue crab, yellow perch is not to be ignored, there are opportunities to reach out to the Gulf Coast and the other regions of the U.S. for a variety of seafood catches.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit in the last few months the boats landing in Ocean City from the Atlantic, the new oyster beds on the Maryland side as well as the Virginia Eastern Shore, The Gulf Coast Alabama, the Ocean City docks on the Atlantic, a Carolina Skiff on the Bush River … even better it’s making our restaurants better places to eat. And whoever had a better idea than turning an invasive, water predator into a gourmet delicacy where the only sustainable goal is good riddance … check it out in this issue. Take a look at an overview of the year in review … with an eye to the future with the expanded use of social media and modern symbols like the QR code. We are awash in information and taking a code to go directly to the source is enticing to the modern chef and diner. The smartphone not only takes a picture of dinner, but it can tell you where it came from and who harvested it. Chefs are going to the source with forward thinking seafood marketers like Steve Vilnit for Maryland and Mike Hutt for Virginia.
Turn the page and you will see their websites … go to the seafood directory and for anything you need to learn about the seafood of the Mid-Atlantic. Talk to your sales person/distributor. Many have in-house chefs to help retool a seafood menu or find a new product. Chefs can go to the source but use all you can for a resource.