Come get your Petrale on January 29th!

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We are pleased to bring you a species this week that we haven’t yet featured. Many consider petrale sole to be the best West Coast flatfish species for eating, and we suspect you may very well agree. We had committed to purchase petrale landed by the F/V Captain John in Moss Landing, but they didn’t end up landing enough and so we ended up having to turn to petrale caught over the weekend by the F/V Mary Jane out of Fort Bragg in northern California. 

Petrale sole are a type of flounder rather than being a true sole. They inhabit sandy bottom habitats along the North American West Coast and are quite the characters, with two eyes on the right side of their head and aggressive eating habits. Trawling is the only way that sole species such as petrale are usually caught, and while they are caught year-round, they are targeted most during the winter months (Jan-Feb is the peak) when they are aggregated in groups at specific, deep-water locations prior to spawning. The petrale fishery has been in a rebuilding plan for the past few years, and lower quotas have pushed prices a bit higher than they used to be. The good news is that petrale sole populations are on target to be declared rebuilt this year. AND, petrale sole’s delicate, mildly sweet flavor and flake-tender texture might even cure the most fish wary members of your household!

There IS a difference between whole fish and fillet share types this week – whole fish shares only will be labeled by member last name, so please be sure to take the right package. While our self-service honor system works great the vast majority of the time, every couple weeks or so a member will arrive at a site and find that their share is missing. Since one person’s actions affect everyone else, please please please always make sure to double-check our Monday email for instructions specific to that week and be sure to pass all the information along if someone else will be picking up your share for you.

Last but not least, we’d like to ask for your help in sending letters to the Santa Cruz Harbor Port Commission in support of a local seafood retail business operated by LCMB. Such a facility would help make local seafood more available, and our proposal is supported by many in the fishing community. We would greatly appreciate it if you could take a moment to do this. Please scroll down for suggested text, and for other announcements about a Local Catch tour of the new Sanctuary Exploration Center, our Web Store, and the opportunity to easily earn $5 this week.

Caught by: F/V Mary Jane
When caught: Sunday 1/27
Landed in: Fort Bragg
Cleaned and filleted: Monday 1/28
Coolers packed: Tuesday 1/29 by Oren, Alan, and Vinny
Fillets shares vs. Whole fish shares:
fillet preference: petrale sole fillets
whole fish preference: whole petrale sole LABELED with member last name. 1 or 2 whole fish per small share, depending on size of fish.
What to take:
small shares: 1 package
family shares: 2 packages
Eat by: Friday

about petrale sole:
-Our LCMB petrale sole species profile
-Here’s some excellent additional information on petrale sole from NOAA FishWatch

about petrale sole fishing:
-Petrale sole is caught with trawl nets. Click here to learn more about pros and cons of this fishing method
-More than you ever wanted to know about the status of the West Coast petrale sole resource (2010)

about petrale sole preparation:
All good recipes for petrale sole call for delicate garnishes to match the fish’s delicate flavor. This is not the fish to slather in spicy, piquant salsas. Mild seasoning, butter, and olive oil are all that are needed to highlight petrale sole. And for accompaniments, think light as well.
-5 tempting petrale sole recipes on the LCMB website – 4 for fillets, 1 for whole fish
-Whole gutted petrale sole can be cooked as they are. This is the easiest way, as the meat will fall off the bones once cooked. If you would rather fillet your whole sole prior to cooking, you can follow these instructions or this video.
-Please share your petrale sole experience on our Facebook page or on the “Sole Discussion” section of our Member’s Forum.

Enjoy your Local Catch Tuesday!
Oren and Alan

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Want better access to local fish? Help us by writing a letter!
We’d like to ask for your help in sending letters to the Santa Cruz Harbor Port Commission in support of a local seafood retail business operated by LCMB. We would greatly appreciate it if you could take a moment to do this. Here’s some suggested text:

Dear Santa Cruz Harbor Port Commission:

I am writing in support of the lease proposal for a local retail seafood market and charter fishing office at 2210 East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz Harbor.

In recent years, it’s been increasingly difficult to find fresh, local, and sustainable seafood in the Monterey Bay area. Although fresh, local, and sustainable seafood is being landed here in Santa Cruz, most of it ends up in other parts of the country and world! We support the idea of a local seafood market that only provides local seafood caught by fishermen we know. 

Local Catch Monterey Bay has done a great job at reconnecting us with local seafood producers through their Community Supported Fishery (CSF), and we support the proposal for a retail market as another way for them to continue strengthening our connection to the ocean while supporting local fishermen, the community and economy.

Please mail letters to: Santa Cruz Port District, 135 Fifth Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062.

Local Catch Webstore is Open!
Currently available items include:
-Extra shares of tomorrow’s fish
-LCMB T-shirts and hoodies – your order helps us to provide our regular fishermen with free Local Catch hoodies
-Smoked sablefish
-Live abalone
-A new LCMB cooler bag
-Fisherman Chris Zajac’s art and original shirts
-Cedar planks for grilling fish
Access the Webstore by logging in to your account and then clicking on the words “Web Store” in the upper right corner. Orders must be placed by 9pm Monday to receive the following day. You should receive a confirmation email with the successful completion of an order, and your Local Catch account balance will be debited accordingly at the time of delivery.

LAST Independent Marketplace, 4-9pm on 2/7/13
Join us for fish, oyster shuckin’, and fun at the final Independent Marketplace in Sand City on February 7th. We’ve enjoyed being a part of this amazing social / culinary experiment, especially for the chance to get to know many of you in person. Learn more about the future of the ground-level space at the Independent here.

Sanctuary Exploration Center Tour, 10am on 2/16/13
Much of our seafood comes from the clean waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). In 2012, the MBMNS opened the Sanctuary Exploration Center (SEC) at 35 Pacific Avenue, right by the Santa Cruz boardwalk. The SEC is a first-class facility that can “bring it all together” and help you to understand the environments that many of your Local Catches come from. LCMB member Sandra Cohen is a docent at the Exploration Center, and has offered to provide some interpretation for interested Local Catch members. Admission, an outstanding 17-minute film, and Sandy’s intepretation are all FREE (donations to SEC are optional). This is an excellent opportunity to learn about our local waters and meet others in the LCMB community. Meet at 10am on Saturday, February 16, and plan to spend about an hour. All welcome.

Earn $5
Email us a photo of your family enjoying your petrale sole this week (or post it to Facebook or our Member’s Forum), and we’ll credit your Local Catch account $5. Easy! We may use your photos for promotional purposes, but mostly they’re just fun to see :)

Important Reminders
1. If you will be unable to pick up your share, you MUST notify us via email by the Friday before the first Tuesday you will miss. We are more than happy to accommodate vacation periods of any length, but we need a little notice so that we don’t purchase seafood for you over the weekend.
2. If you are extra-excited or rather unexcited about a particular week’s offering, you can place a posting on our Buy/Sell/Swap discussion topic and make arrangements to trade with other members. If you do this, be sure to provide some kind of contact info so others can get in touch with you.
3. Send us a new recipe, broken down into steps and with a photo you’ve taken, and we’ll credit your account $5.
4. Refer a new member, and receive a $20 referral credit. Make sure the new member gives us your name after they sign up.
5. Need some new seafood preparation ideas? Get together with other LCMB members and share a meal by posting on this discussion topic.

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