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How to Have a Happy Mother’s Day

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on May 5th, 2014, in Selecting Seafood, Specials

Mother’s Day is coming up, and as we’re fond of reminding you – it’s the #1 day for dining out of the year! The flower market also goes crazy (which can cause shipping issues for fresh seafood out of South America – sort of a cargo war between perishables…)

So, we have a few bits of advice for you.

  • Help us help you!  Talk to your rep early this week about what’s going to be looking good for the weekend.   We have the ability to forecast out further on some items, and your rep can let you know what those are.  In general, farmed fish are more consistent than wild ones, and the closer to home any seafood is caught or harvested, the better.
  • Ask to see our Mother’s Day Specials Sheet if you haven’t already.  We put together a great selection of deals on some awesome items – your Santa Monica Seafood rep can email or fax you a copy today.
  • Order early – especially when it comes to frozen items.   If you need frozen seafood, order it today!  No sense waiting until Friday when you’re going to be busy (and so are we).
  • Offer plenty of healthy choices (that don’t scrimp on flavor!).  We talked about this last week, and the coming weekend is a great chance to put it into practice.  With so many seafood options available to pair with a spring bounty of local fruits and vegetables – you can’t miss!
  • Relax and have fun.  We all know that being prepared means we can enjoy the moment.  Mother’s Day is a chance for us all to celebrate – make sure you have the time and energy to do it right!

Let us know what’s on your Mother’s Day menu!

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Soft Shell Crabs are Here!

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on May 2nd, 2014, in Announcements, Product Alerts

It’s looking like we’ll have more Soft Shell Crabs available in time for Mother’s Day (and maybe sooner)! The water temperatures are warming, the crabs have started to shed their shells, and watermen are out harvesting.  We did receive a small shipment this past week – hope those of you that jumped on that first order enjoyed your crabs!

Just a few reminders about ordering soft shell crabs which we bring in fresh, on a pre-order basis only. In order to make sure we deliver the best quality possible, please stick with this ordering schedule:

Once you’ve got your size, style and amount figured out, set up an ordering schedule with your sales rep. Pre-orders full trays on the following schedule (NO MONDAY OR TUESDAY DELIVERIES):

  • Order by Friday for Wednesday Delivery
  • Order by Monday for Thursday Delivery
  • Order by Tuesday for Friday Delivery

And a quick reminder on how softshells are packed:

  • Hotels / Fresh – 30 each per tray or Dressed – 60 each per tray
  • Primes / Fresh – 24 each per tray or Dressed - 48 each per tray
  • Jumbos / Fresh – 18 each per tray or Dressed – 36 each per tray

Because of the delicate nature of Soft Shells you must pre-order! Making sure your Santa Monica Seafood Representative knows you’re going to be ordering softshells this season will help ensure timely delivery, especially for Mother’s Day!

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Healthy Menu Choices Keep Guests Happy

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on April 29th, 2014, in Selecting Seafood

In a recent post on FSR.com, the “Critical Insights Double Agent” offers up some useful advice on “how to provide healthy food while maintaining quality and interest, and without making your customers feel like they’re being any less pampered.”   We feel strongly that seafood is one of the healthiest protein choices you can put on your menu; here are a few more ideas from the post:

Increase the vegetable count on your menu.  Move beyond salads and sides and start featuring main courses that are vegetable-focused, vegetable based soups and other choices.  And don’t be afraid to add lesser-known vegetables to the mix – customers appreciate the chance to try something they wouldn’t normally cook at home.  Feature something seasonal, like ramps or fiddleheads.

Be versatile – try some of those new healthy grains out there!  What about a side of freekah with that gorgeous wild Halibut you just got in?  Or why not add some MSC Certified Oregon Bay Shrimp to a farro salad?

The Critical Insights Double Agent would love to see the focus move from “fat free” to simply enjoying naturally low fat ingredients for what they are – delicious!   Seafood is easily enhanced by citrus – which is low in fat and delicious!  Fresh squeezed oranges, lemons and limes bring a healthy punch to any seafood entree.  We see lots of other delicious seafood and fruit combinations out there too – work some pineapple, mango or peaches into your next fish dish!

It’s all about balance – no one is suggesting you move to a non-fat, all-vegan menu (certainly not us!) but balancing out rich dishes with lighter touches and offering healthy choices throughout the menu will keep all your customers satisfied, every time they come in.

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Cook for the Roses

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on April 28th, 2014, in Selecting Seafood

It’s Kentucky Derby Week!  To most people it’s all about the horses (or maybe the hats…) but what are we looking forward to?  The annual Skuna Bay Salmon Kentucky Derby Chef Challenge! After multiple rounds of cook-offs held across the country over the last couple of months the competing chefs have been narrowed down to two finalists.

You can see how the competition played out here, but in the end there were only two chefs left standing:  Chef Edward Sura of Perennial Virant in Chicago and Chef Sarah Schafer, of Irving Street Kitchen in Portland.

Don’t worry though, California will be well-represented by Chef Andrew Sutton, Signature Chef of Disney Resorts, who has been picked to be one of this year’s Finals Judges!  Chef Sutton was last year’s Skuna Bay Kentucky Derby Chef Challenge Runner Up and Finalist and he brings his experience and unique vantage point to this years competition.

May the best Chef win!

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Busy Spring for RSVP Funding Recipients!

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on April 15th, 2014, in Selecting Seafood, Sustainability

It’s been a busy spring so far for a number of organizations that we support with RSVP Funding.  Here’s an overview of some of the action!

  • Derelict Gear Removal – This is the time of year when the weather calms down enough for the Northwest Straits Foundation’s Derelict Gear Removal project to really get going on removing abandoned fishing nets and crab pots. They’ve had a busy past two months, conducting a total of 16 days of net removal off Salmon Bank, Lopez Island, Cypress Island, Rosario Strait, south San Juan and Guemes Island, Lummi Island, Alden Bank and Hood Canal.  48 derelict nets have been removed so far!
  • Fathom Consulting’s Pelagic Trawl Gear Improvement was just awarded a 320K grant from NOAAs Saltonstal-Kennedy program to conduct a full benthic survey, further building upon the support they get from Santa Monica Seafood.
  • The Central California Fisheries Research Project (CCFRP) is getting geared up for the summer 2014 research season, booking charter trips and getting volunteer anglers to help them catch fish to tag! If you live in the area and would like to get involved with the volunteer angler program, click here.
  • The World Wildlife Fund Peruvian Mahi FIP has set up an observer program for the 2014 season in Paita, and is working towards a mid-year progress meeting in August and the creation of the national Mahi management group in September. Check out this cool video that WWF Peru has produced on the Paita Mahi fishery!
  • Heal the Bay’s Key to the Sea program has educated 111 new teachers through the Key to the Sea professional development program.  These newly trained teachers translate into thousands of students from all over the Los Angeles area.  At of the end of February, Key to the Sea had brought 3358 students to the beach (many for the first time) and another 3000 students are scheduled to come this spring!

Thanks to those of you that work with us to help support positive change in our industry!

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Teens Dining out More than Ever

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on April 11th, 2014, in Announcements, Seafood Education

Although you might not care that teenagers prefer Nike over Converse, we bet you will be interested to learn that for the first time EVER in the history of Piper Jaffray’s “Teen Spending Survey teens are spending as much money on food as they are on clothing!

It’s not surprising that most of that money is going to Starbucks, but we still found it interesting…  and it leads us to believe that some of those teens like seafood and are willing to spend their (or their parents) money on it.  Kids of all ages are growing more and more sophisticated when it comes to their dining habits, and enjoying a whole roasted sea bass or a plate of crab cakes is becoming as normal to them as sipping on an Iced Venti Carmel Macchiatto.

Don’t underestimate the power of teens when it comes to your bottom line.

Whether your offering a prom-focused special this spring (hopefully featuring some seasonal seafood), adding all-ages hand crafted non-alcoholic drinks to your program or advertising in teen-focused publications, the teen market is looking for a place to eat!

They are also obsessed with social – spruce up that Facebook page and make sure your Instagram account is up-to-date!

Let us know how you’re creatively capturing a bit of the teen market in our comments section…

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Hopeful News for Wild Salmon Lovers

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on April 7th, 2014, in Announcements

More hopeful news for all of you who are following the Bristol Bay/Pebble Mine story -  global mining giant Rio Tinto has just announced that it is pulling out of the Pebble Mine project which ranks among the largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world.

According to this article from McClatchyDC.com, “project developer Northern Dynasty Minerals is vowing to push on despite the controversies and continual setbacks”.

British mining company Anglo American pulled out of the project late last year.

We’ve supported the fight to protect Bristol Bay through our RSVP Project, and we’ll continue to stay involved.  Bristol Bay is home to one of the planet’s richest wild salmon fisheries and we believe it should remain protected.  To join the fight to Save Bristol Bay, check out SaveBristolBay.org

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What’s your Story?

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on April 4th, 2014, in Announcements, Seafood Education, Specials

Restaurant Business just published their “Top 12 tips from the Restaurant Leadership Conferenceand one in particular caught our eye:

“Tell your story. Millennials in particular want to know who you are and how you got there. They want to meet your brand, not just use it.”

We also shared a great blog post from Morsel called “The Power of Storytelling for Chefs and Restaurants” on our Facebook page the other day that expounded on that same message.   The author writes:

“And so, the lesson — we don’t remember lists of ingredients in a tweet. So, if you post some food porn and the ingredients, no one will remember those ingredients. You’ve given your followers nothing to remember, nothing to connect with, nothing that resonates.

Now, if you tell the stories of your food — you and your food will be remembered. In fact, neurologists have determined that  stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.”

We love this idea – mainly because seafood comes loaded with stories!   Right now we’re excited about beautiful spring kings coming down from Oregon.  These are troll caught salmon, harvested one at a time by fishermen working on small boats – sometimes even fishing by themselves. Imagine those big kings, massing to feed on schools of herring and other small fish gathering by the ton, a story as old as spring itself!   They’re fattening up, getting ready for their spawning run and are what we call “Ocean Bright” meaning they are at the peak of their life-cycle – strong and full flavored and just bursting with rich and healthy fat.  Trolling is one of the fussiest fisheries, with fish landed still alive, one-at-a-time, and bled and iced quickly resulting in unmatched quality.  It’s not a volume fishery, so these fish aren’t cheap – but use their seasonal story to connect with your customers and when they bite into that fish we guarantee they won’t be disappointed!

The story of seafood – let us know how we can help you tell it!

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King Crabs vulnerable to Ocean Acidification

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on March 25th, 2014, in Announcements, Seafood Education, Sustainability

We just received an update from the ACKRRAB project (one of our RSVP funding recipients) on some research they’ve been doing to study the potential impacts of ocean acidification on red king crabs.

According to their report,

“NOAA researchers at the Kodiak Laboratory used red king crabs from the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, from eastern Bering Sea broodstock, in an experiment on the effects of ocean acidification. Red king crab may be vulnerable to ocean acidification because their shells are made of calcium carbonate, which can dissolve in acidic waters.”

The experiment measured how newly settled crabs reacted to different pH levels.  They tested crabs in water that approximated current oceanic conditions,  as well as water with a pH of 7.8 (expected global average by the year 2100), and water with a pH of 7.5 (expected by 2200).

As you might expect, the crabs were negatively impacted by the changes in pH, either exhibiting slower growth weights or dying.   According to the researchers,

“The reduced survival and growth at lower pH means that ocean acidification could have substantial negative effects on the populations of red king crab and crab fisheries within the next 100 years. Further research will consider daily and seasonal fluctuations in pH naturally experienced by crab throughout their life history.”

You can learn at the AKCRRAB website

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Unpacking Boston; Part Two

Posted by Santa Monica Admin, on March 21st, 2014, in Announcements, Seafood Education, Sustainability

Seafood Expo North America was also a perfect opportunity for the members of Sea Pact to spread the word about all the great projects we’ve funded, and announce our two newest grant recipients! We took the opportunity that the show provides to announce that we just funded a Brazilian lobster FIP and a unique project designed to help improve sustainability of the Maine soft shell clam through predator exclusion and other methods.

Panulirus argus (red lobster) and Panulirus laevicauda (green lobster), represent the most important fishing resources of northern and northeastern Brazil. The fishery exports mainly to the US market, and provides a livelihood for more than 15,000 fishermen. This FIP was launched two years ago, trigged by a UNEP study about supply chains in the agriculture and fisheries sectors. UNEP entered in a partnership with CeDePesca, which is coordinating the improvement work in the field with local industry and fishermen. An MSC pre-assessment was conducted and revealed a variety of problems the most crucial one being the extended use of illegal fishing gear. Sea Pact funding will be used to implement a traceability system paired with a branding project that highlights legally trap-caught lobsters. The hope is this will encourage fishermen to organize and work together to build a legal, verified, and branded product that will gain better US market recognition and will encourage other fishermen to move towards legal (and more sustainable) fishing methods.

Funding is also being used to support a project in Freeport, ME, designed to engage soft-shell clam (Mya arenaria) harvesters in active management projects that will demonstrate the efficacy of various methods to enhance natural clam populations. The practical goal is to increase clam harvests so that supply can grow with demand for this product, however a more long-term goal is to create a “new mindset” amongst clammers and local clam stewardship committees to see beyond traditional conservation schemes. New efforts focusing on predator (green crab) exclusion and habitat modification that will result in the enhancement of wild a cultured “spat”.

These two new projects were unveiled at a well-attended reception that we held the first day of the show.  Thanks to everyone that joined us!  If you have further questions about the work that Sea Pact does, don’t hesitate to ask…

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