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"From Fishing to Farmers Markets" & events, issues & ideas

Thursday, September 05, 2013
The Effects of Fukushima on West Coast Seafood

One of my farmers market customers told me that she would not be buying anymore canned albacore forever. That got my attention, and I asked her why. "It's all the radiation leaking into the ocean from the Fukushima nuclear plant."  How many other customers have been silently vowing to never eat fish from the Pacific Ocean?

There are always two sides to every argument which predicated this new research project. It is impossible at this point to claim that I have THE answer. Here are some of the articles about Fukushima's effect on North Pacific seafood:        Explains U.S. Monitoring Strategy   Contamination from Japan, etc.   "Setting the Record Straight" ?  George Washington's blog...really   Actual testing results on fish  
"Eating Fish From the Pacific Ocean Won't Turn You into a Mutant" by Michael Conathan, Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress
Oregon State University fish testing results  "Fishing for Answers off Fukushima" by Ken Buessler, a chief scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

It's best to be self-informed on any issue. I tend to like a good scientific study. However, with computer modeling, one can noodle the data to reach pre-determined or "political" results. Science used to be our lode stone....a compass of sorts.


Sunday, September 18, 2011
Posting a short Video
Hopefully this will post as a video so that you can visualize how hard three men have to pull on this net to land 200 pinks, each weighing an average of 4.2 lbs.


Jack, Andrew, and Steve roll in over 200 pinks. They will slide over the deck and into the underwater tank to hold for delivery later.

Views of the 4Way Reefnet Gear

The reefnet gear is an old Salish and Lummi Indian fishing method which traps salmon between two barges or canoes and pulls up any salmon that swim over the net strung between the two boats.

The nets and ropes used to be made of cedar bark. Compared to seining

and gillnetting, this old-time method is inefficient and requires alot of patience. The owner Jack calls it a working museum. The Seattle Times has a good article about it:


Fisherman on Vacation
Steve comes home for a vacation and two days later he is reef netting with the local fishermen for pink salmon:

We have done business with Jack and his crew for two years for their sockeye that we use in our canned wild sockeye skinless boneless pack.
Now Steve was fishing alongside with Randy, Andrew, Jack, and John, first as a guest and then as a fill-in crew.
This was nothing new. Steve's great aunt Anna Hodgson had owned the Iceberg Point reefnet gear on the south end of Lopez Island. He was on the crew there in 1965 and the experience trained his eyes and patience as to how sockeyes and kings behaved. This type of fishing is ancient as all the lines and nets in the Salish Indian times were made of cedar bark.
The basic concept is the same however. I will try to post some pictures and diagrams later.

Friday, September 11, 2009
We have 9/11 in our hearts
It has been a long time since we have been able to blog for many reasons, but I just couldn't not honor a few people on this very important day. First of all, 9/11 has been Steve's parents' wedding anniversary. Phyllis died before their 60th, and Clark just died on June 8th of 2009.

Steve and I went camping with them for every anniversary since their 50th. On that particular anniversary, we tied the boat up in the middle of albacore trolling, and took the greyhound from Crescent City, CA to Seattle....picked up my van in the gear locker and drove four hours in the rain to Iron Creek Campground in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. We woke everyone up at 11 pm but we had made it for their 50th wedding anniversary. The smiles on their faces told me all I needed to know. Clark helped dry out our sleeping bags by the fire and we basked in the celebration of a most important anniversary. That was 1996. In the ensuing years, as many of the family who could, met at Adam's Fork Campground on Sept. 11th. We brought dahlias from our garden and led mushroom and blueberry picking expeditions up the sides of Mt. Adams and other closeby fields. We caught trout and were able to brag over sauted trout with chantrelles in sherry and cream. Blueberry pancakes in the morning and chantrelle doused fish or meat for dinner were the norm. Our kids heard the old stories and made new ones. We were in the vernacular....fam-i-ly.

Now fast forward to the 9/11 which changed our country forever. As usual, we were camping at Adam's Fork on 9/11/2001 and knew nothing about the attacks. We were around the fire in the evening when a car drove by our campsite slowly. They passed by and then backed up. Phyllis walked out to see if they needed directions or some help. What they told her shook her up. She told us about the twin towers being hit by terrorists in hijacked planes. We sat around the fire trying to digest the information. I remembered Peggy Noonan's article earlier in the summer about looking at Middle Eastern men panning her church and other buildings with their video cameras and feeling that it was very creepy. I had seen the same type of men taking pictures of the Interbay train depot near Fisherman's Terminal. It was after USS Cole bombing and some of us were very nervous but for the right reasons.

Steve and I were shaken. I was disturbed to the core. I had been reading threat assessments on the internet all summer but nothing was even close to the 9/11/2001. I clutched my portable radio to my ear all night with an aching heart, in tears, knowing that my beloved country would never be the same again. We were in the beauty of America, near Mt St Helens, in God's country, but here we were isolated from the tragedy of 9/11. I feared for my children, one of whom was in Boston. I had to hear her voice. The next morning I made Steve come with me on a 40 mile drive down the mountain, down 3,000 ft of altitude to Randle, WA., where I called my daughter on the only pay phone we could find. Thank God she was safe. My son, I was able to reach later on the West Coast. Only then would I go back to the campsite. With heavy hearts, we all broke camp, and went home. Then we watched TV with America and cried along with our fellow Americans.
Later I learned one of my heroes, Rick Rescorla, had died in the twin towers, sheparding his people down the stairwells with his bull horn of songs and encouraging words. He was my hero after reading We were Soldiers Once and Young, and even more so after the movie with Mel Gibson. All the soldiers who fought at Ia Drang, never knew that they were my heroes. I was late to the realization about what they had done. But when I read their stories, I knew that if I had been a man, I would have wanted to be among them as a fellow soldier, a friend, and I will never forget. They were my contemporaries, my brothers. I could only love them from afar. I honor them today. I honor Rick Rescorla today. God rest his soul, and God bless his wife, and his friends.

So to Mom and Dad, to my father, a true patriot, and to Rick, my hero, and to all the others on 9/11.....who suffered and died.... I will always remember. Today, my heart and soul ached all day with new tears falling down old rivers.

Saturday, March 07, 2009
Tuna Noodle Casserole- Part 2
There are a gazillion tuna noodle casserole recipes. Here is a start online:

1. Cooks Illustrated:,178,141187-243199,00.html
2. Gourmet 2004:
3. Skillet version:
4. Healthy & Fit version:
5. Whole Wheat Noodle version:

And then the Lopez locavore recipe below:

All ingredients are found within a 100 mile radius of Lopez Island except for the tuna which is caught about 200 miles off the coast of Oregon. The organic whole wheat pastry flour is milled by Bluebird Grain Farms near Twisp, WA. which also might be on the outer perimeter of my 100 miles. I purchase it from our local Blossom Organic Grocery and use it to bake bread and make noodles. The onion, garlic, dill and parsley we grow in our garden or find at the farmers market here. I buy local chickens from Blossom Grocery and make chicken stock which is used in the soup portion. No one on Lopez sells raw milk which calls for a trip to Blossom for "local" organic milk from the Skagit County area. As for the mushrooms, well no one will fess up to where they really found morels or chantrelles. Frozen for use when not in season, they work just fine in a casserole. That leaves the salt, pepper, and sherry as non-indigenous ingredients. I could delete the sherry, scrape the salt off our southern facing windows and grind up one of our few, meager, hot chiles, and voila'. That's going to the locovore limit. But this is just a test, so let's not go overboard.

Lopez Tuna Noodle Casserole

1- 6 oz. can of Papa George Tuna
1- cup chicken stock
1/2- cup chopped wild morels or chantrelles
1- Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1- cup whole organic milk
1/4 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. chopped parsley...double amount if fresh
1 tsp. dill weed...double amount if fresh
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
6 oz of homemade whole wheat noodles, cooked (about 3 cups)


1 1/2- cups of breadcrumbs...from the homemade bread of course
1/4- cup of organic butter melted


1. Cook the noodles until al dente. Drain and put aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, saute the onion and garlic on med-low in a Tb. of butter
3. Add the flour next and make a roux.
4. Gradually add the chicken broth and the milk. Stir and warm up.
5. Heat until the broth mixture is thickened, but do not boil. You can use home grown cooked potato instead of flour to thicken the broth.
6. Take saucepan off heat. Stir in thawed out mushrooms, add herbs and spices. Some folks add peas too.
7. Put noodles in a greased casserole dish or an 8x8x2 1/2 pan.
Pour the thick soup mixture over the noodles.
8. Make buttered breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the top.
9. Bake at 350. Check at 30 minutes: if breadcrumbs are browning too fast, cover lightly with a small cookie sheet for another 10-15 min.
10. Let it rest out of the oven awhile before serving.

Slow Food Land and Sea

Our local Slow Food Convivium is in San Juan County, in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Papa George Tuna is a member of Slow Food USA and our convivium for this area has a blog which lists local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. My husband is not fishing locally however because there isn't much to fish for in Washington now.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
Recently it was reported in a local newspaper that one of the most Googled recipes of late was Tuna Noodle Casserole. The writer was seeking to link the downward spiraling economic times to a resurgence in comfort foods, ala Tuna Noodle Casserole. This classic dinner of the 1950's is much maligned for its fat, salt, and processed food content, so I will offer two recipes which use our very flavorful and healthy canned albacore. One recipe is my gold standard for crew food, and a family favorite. The other is a locovore recipe where the ingredients are found within 100 miles or close to that of Lopez Island, WA. where we are currently living. I'll give the first recipe in this blog posting and the Locovore recipe in a subsequent post.

Papa George Tuna Noodle Casserole

Large version: Halve the ingredients for smaller version

2- 6 oz cans of Papa George Gourmet Albacore
2- 8 oz cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
2- 12 oz cans of Non-fat or low-fat Evaporated milk
1/2- cup dry sherry
1/2- cup minced onion
2- cloves garlic, minced
1- Tbsp parsley-dry or double that if fresh
2- tsp dill-dry or double that if fresh
1- tsp salt
1/4- tsp white pepper
12 oz bag of noodles, medium or wide....cooked
3- cups Panko crumbs
1/3- cup melted butter or marjerine

1. Cook noodles and drain when al dente.
2. Saute onion in butter or oil ( 2 tsp or so) in a deep sauce pan until onions are translucent and sweet, add garlic part way through. Med-low heat.
3. Add soup, milk, sherry, herbs, and spices. Stir and warm.
4. Add chunks of Papa George canned albacore. Some folks add the water in the can too for more flavor.
5. Lightly grease a casserole dish or 9 X 12 baking pan.
6. Spread noodles in casserole dish, and pour tuna soup mixture over all. Gently move the mixture around to mix.
7. Cover with Panko crumbs mixed with melted butter.
8. Bake covered with foil for 35 minutes. Uncover for 15 minutes or until crumbs are golden. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. 350 degree oven.

Sunday, November 30, 2008
Sushi Standards by Blue Ocean Institute
There is a new sustainable seafood guide to ocean friendly sushi put forward by the Blue Ocean Institute. This guide can be downloaded at Blue Ocean Institute's new website . A query may also be sent by text to FishPhone- text FISH and the species name to 30644 for the instant sustainability info.

We participated in the Lopez Island Pre-school Bazaar yesterday and sold a lot of canned fish. Most of our customers are savvy to the sustainability issues. There seem to be less concern over the mercury debate and more concern about sustainability. Our new offering of Cold Smoked Wild King Salmon is receiving more attention and accolades.

I participate in a volunteer group on Lopez Island which studies the amount, species, ocean salinity, and stomach contents of juvenile salmon as they swim by our island's south end. We just finished our last lab for the year in which we discovered that the baby salmon were eating mostly insects as compared to the early summer when their diet consisted of crustaceans, plankton, and marine invertebrate larvae.

Friday, October 17, 2008
NEW! Cold Smoked Wild King Salmon
Our goal has always been to produce the finest canned seafood in the gourmet market. I think we have really hit the jackpot with our latest canning of Washington Wild King Salmon, lightly cold smoked, skinless and boneless, in a byphenol-A free 6 oz. can.
These king salmon were caught in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and canned within two weeks of being caught. I have to admit that we didn't catch them....but we sourced our tribal fishermen and know that they were caught in an environmentally friendly way.

What is striking about this canning is the very subtle smoke flavor and the luscious texture which melts in your mouth. Many smoked fish products resemble hockey pucks which is why we choose to go the cold smoked route. When you open the can, you see the filet curl around in the can with no skin or bones to mar the light salmon color. The first test at home was to spread it on a toast point for breakfast and make two broiled salmon melts for lunch. There was enough left for some smoked salmon with whipped cream cheese on a Stacey's Pita chip accented with a tiny sprig of fresh dill.

Here are the prices. (Remember that wild King Salmon runs from $8.99 to $35.00 a pound in the retail fish markets)

1- 6 oz. can Papa George's Cold Smoked Wild King Salmon........$7.95
6- 6 oz. can Papa George's Cold Smoked Wild King Salmon........$45.00
12-6 oz. can Papa George's Cold Smoked Wild King Salmon........$88.00
24-6 oz. can Papa George's Cold Smoked Wild King Salmon........$175.00

Order our cold smoked wild king in the can by e-mail.
The shipping charges are $10.00 for 1,6, or 12 cans. $10 to $17.25 for the 24 cans depending on your location. East Coast is usually $17.25. West Coast is usually $12-14.00. Mid-West is $14-16.00. We don't make any money on all goes to biodegradable packaging and USPS or UPS.
24-6 oz.

Monday, May 05, 2008
Papa George Tiny Coldwater Shrimp from Oregon
Just as we introduced a new seafood item (shrimp) to our store, a feature in the Sunday Seattle Times, April 20, 2008 to be exact, extolled the delicacy of tiny pink Oregon shrimp nestled in an artichoke. The author, Greg Atkinson, has always been a NW Chef who carefully sourced his local seafood and promoted fishermen. This article is beautifully illustrated by Barry Wong photography.

I was informed by this article that the Oregon Pink Shrimp fishery is the only shrimp fishery in the world certified "sustainable" by the MRC, Marine Stewardship Council. That gives the "little blue fish" award to our canned shrimp! These little shrimp, pandalid jordani, make a tasty addition to pasta and veggies as well as salads. Try some at our online store.

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