At the Market: Blue Moon Fish

Blue Moon Fish, Blue Moon Fish new yorkphotos via Blue Moon Fish

Every Saturday at the market, without fail, Blue Moon Fish has a line a dozen people deep at all times. And every Saturday, without fail, I think, “Next week, I’m going to come prepared and definitely buy some some fish from them.” Well, after nearly three years of thinking that, I finally followed through.

Instead of purchasing a cut of fish that I’m familiar with, I bought littleneck clams, a product I’ve never worked with. But before I tell you all about my clams, a little about Blue Moon Fish. Alex Villani started Blue Mood Fish in the late ’70s, docking his 36-foot-long boat at the Mattituck Inlet on Long Island, where he still is today. He started selling his catch at the Tribeca Greenmarket in 1988, and quickly expanded to Grand Army Plaza, where he would sell out most of his catch. He met his wife at the Grand Army Plaza market in 1990, and today, the two of them still sell at both those markets, plus Union Square on Wednesdays.

Throughout the year, Blue Moon Fish offers more than three dozen different types of fish and seafood, ranging from whole bonito and butterfish to  scallops, mussels, and oysters. In the summer months, a typical day’s catch is between 400 and 600 pounds of porgies, blackfish, bluefish, fluke, squid, and at each market, about a dozen different products are available. The fish is widely considered the freshest fish one can buy in New York City, and the Villani’s one-boat, fisherman-to-table operation really sets them apart from other local fisheries.

Instead of selling wholesale to the Fulton Fish Market, where they would just box up their fish on the dock and ship it out, the Villani’s see their customers every week and can share recipes and tips with them. Plus, their model lets them sell fish that other fishers waste, like sand shark or sea robin, because those fish aren’t the target of the larger boats. Blue Moon has the freedom to sell whatever they catch so nothing goes to waste.

For a really great article on Blue Moon’s operations, read the two page piece by Edible Brooklyn from 2006, linked on Blue Moon’s website.

Clam details and a clamlicious recipe to come!


Composting with GrowNYC

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, grand army plaza, gap market, grownyc, grownyc markets, grownyc composting, grownyc compost collection, composting nyc© Jessica Dailey

Saturdays are my favorite day of the week. Not only is there no work, but it’s market day, which means I can stock up on delicious fresh food, and I can empty the growing compost bag in my refrigerator. Since we joined our summer CSA two years ago, composting has become just as second nature as recycling. While there are plenty of home composting bins and kits, I have no need for a continuous supply of soil (tiny apartment with small windows = not a lot of plants), but GrowNYC makes it incredibly easy for everyone in New York City to compost, even if you don’t want the byproduct. Just collect your food scraps in a container or plastic bag, and drop them off at one of GrowNYC’s compost collections at various city Greenmarkets.

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, grand army plaza, gap market, grownyc, grownyc markets, grownyc composting, grownyc compost collection, composting nycvia GrowNYC website

As of January 28, 2012, GrowNYC had collected a whopping 349,286 pounds of food scraps! Today, the GrowNYC representative at Grand Army Plaza told me that this winter, just at Grand Army Plaza, they collect about 1,500 to 2,000 pounds per week — a rather incredible amount considering that the expanding composting program is less than a year old. Before March 5, 2011, GrowNYC only collect compost at a handful of markets that worked with third party partners, but now 11 of the biggest markets offer collection stations.

Food accounts for 17 percent of New York City’s waste stream, but through composting, we can turn our food scraps into a useful byproduct that will help grown more fresh produce. You can even buy the fertile soil at GrowNYC’s collection sites. For more details on what GrowNYC allows in the compost, visit their website.