Last week I had a chat with Stephanie, the owner of Blue Moon, the fishmonger, which brings seasonal, finest quality local fish to our Union Square Farmers Market in New York City. Their diverse customers include Union Square Cafe and Blue Hill restaurants.
Alex, her husband, the fisherman, goes out to the sea (they are based in Mattituck, NY), harvests fish and brings them to the shore. He is not a young man and is not using young assistants. He is doing everything by himself. It is an extremely hard work. Alex was in the past a captain of a big boat and had young men working under him on board. He was fed up with dealing with some of those, who had low or no work ethics – no devotion, no dedication, no responsibility and no show-up for work.
Stephanie in the past met several young men who showed an enthusiasm in getting into fishermen’s business. But, after finding out how to establish a fisherman business, all walked away. Hard work in this business begins on land. Obtaining license – license to harvest fish and sell them to consumer – is pain in the neck. There are Federal license and NY State license. According to Alex, obtaining Federal license allows fishermen to harvest more variety and quantity of fish. Every license has to be renewed every year, and fees of those are hefty. Alex owns New York State Food fish license, which covers him to harvest different kinds of inexpensive fish. He also owns ten other State licenses for Mussels, Striped Bas, fluke, etc.
Alex is on his boat by himself. But, he goes out to the sea together with his friend fishermen, many of whom are like Alex, manning his boat by themselves. They communicate each other over the radio. Conversations are from the weather, visibility, wave, tangled net, gossips and etc. When they find a school of fish, such information is secretly shared among only the closest friends. I can picture Alex on his boat chatting with friends, fixing the nets, looking for a school of fish and enjoying the sun and sea breeze. He maybe also hamming with a big smile on his face. Alex loves to fish for himself and for his family – hard work is justified, and we get the reward.
Stephanie recently posted a beautiful blog on Blue Moon website. Their long-term customer Seiji Saito, an internationally famous Japanese sculptor, made a bust of her and presented it to her. Here is the link to the story. www.bluemoonfish.com/blog
Many thanks to Alex and Stephanie for your all hard work. We love you!