FISH FOR FAMILIES // the local food report

I met Marcia at the Family Pantry in Harwich. She was one of many women there who knew her way around a kitchen, and she said that although she'd never tried dogfish, she knew exactly what to do with it.

"To start you do some black pepper, a little salt and then you get some chopped onions, scallions, thyme, and I'm a Jamaican so I'll use some jerk seasoning. So we're gonna sauté that down in a little bit of fat in your frying pan or your skillet and then you'll dice the fish and you'll add it in there. For the sauce, you'll use coconut milk, and you'll cook it down for like five minutes, and you're good to go."

Marcia represents one of almost nine hundred households who's received local seafood through a new program called Fish for Families. It's a partnership between the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance and the Family Pantry in Harwich, and the idea is to get nutritionally-dense, high quality local seafood to Cape Cod families in need. It's funded in part by Cape Cod Healthcare, and their Director of Community Benefits, Lisa Guyon, says it's a win-win-win. Not only does it support local fishermen and promote sustainable species like dogfish and skate, but it can also help vulnerable populations manage diet-related chronic diseases by providing them with unprocessed, nutritious food. 

As of November 2014, Fish for Families had reached 887 local households—75 percent of the Family Pantry's clients—and distributed almost 7,000 pounds of local seafood. The goal for 2015 is to increase that to 25,000. Pretty neat, right?


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.