FROM THIS EPISODE
We kick off this week’s watery show with the tale of The Codfather. Reporter Ben Goldfarb covered the rise and fall of Carlos Rafael for the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) and Mother Jones magazine. His piece is a fascinating look at how a Portuguese fisherman amassed a flotilla of 40 boats, while managing to skirt commercial fishing regulations for years. Learn how his arrest upended New England’s fishing industry.
“Trust the Gorton’s fisherman,” or so the slogan goes. But truth be told, if you were to eat a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich in Alaska, the fish inside the breading will have crossed the continental United States twice on its journey to Gloucester, Massachusetts, to be sliced and batter-coated in breadcrumbs before returning west to the Golden Arches. Journalist Lee van der Voo takes a deep dive into the commercial fishing industry in her new book, “The Fish Market.” In it, she exposes the monopolies, privatization and exclusionary practices that are just as rampant on the seas as they are in America’s agricultural industry.
Lee van der Voo
This week at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, Ricardo Zarate, the chef-owner of Rosaliné in West Hollywood, is shopping for ají amarillo, huacatay and Japanese Momotaro tomatoes. He uses them in a branzino dish called pescado parrillero, which he learned to cook from an ex-girlfriend’s mom. Then, farmer Cuco Arambula explains to Laura Avery how he grows Momotaro tomatoes at Beylik Family Farms in Fillmore, California.
When it comes to oysters, Rowan Jacobsen does not mince words: “A good oyster smells like the sea breeze skipping over the shore. A bad oyster smells like a murder victim.” That pearl of wisdom is one of many you’ll find in Jacobsen’s impressive new compendium about the bivalve: “The Essential Oyster: A Salty Appreciation of Taste and Temptation.” In it, he also shares a roadmap to the best oysters in the United States.
Bren Smith is the executive director of GreenWave. The longtime commercial fisherman recently discovered restorative 3-D ocean farming of shellfish and seaweed. We reached out to him at Thimble Island Ocean Farm in Connecticut to learn how his underwater farming model is reviving ecosystems, reversing the effects of climate change and creating new jobs.