Alarm clock goes off; it’s 5:30 in the morning. I am up preparing myself for an early visit to Monterey Fish Market, where I’ll tune in to a world view of fish and vast amounts of information.
I am actually one of those people that prefers fish over many other types of protein. Fish to me is delectable and satisfying to eat. If I could choose one type of fish or ocean living creature to eat for the rest of my days it would probably be squid. The flavor, and taste of the beautiful shellfish is so amazing. Toss a few pieces in the wood oven for myself and I am good to go.
Our group left the restaurant at six sharp. Headed over the bay bridge through the foggy morning dew, trying to make our arrival to the pier as early as possible. Finally, we arrive! Pier 33, Monterey Fish Market here we come.
Right when I started to walk inside the port I get the biggest sniff of ocean air and fishy fish. It isn’t the worst smell ever, but it is kind of unpleasing at this time of the morning. I am use to my coffee beans being grinded, or my bread being toasted, not fillet of fish sitting upon cold shaved ice. Oh well, I will just have to deal with it today.
We approach a small section of the pier where Monterey Fish dealt with all of their orders and processing. Inside of the plastic drapes and into the cold we went; stunned by enormous amounts of fish on top of fish ready to be delivered to various restaurants of San Francisco Bay Area.
We started our tour with information about different fish that Monterey specifically catches and sales. The list is long so I won’t linger on about all of the types, but I can say if you’re looking for a specific type of fish then most likely Monterey has it, or can at least fish it up. Our guide then went into special fish around the bay area (local fish) which people around here love to use the most. Why would people want to use this fish the most? The answer is simple, it is from the local waters and is more fresh than any other fish that is pulled in. Plus, if it is being fished then that must mean it is in season to eat.
We then went head in on sustainable fish and fish that is not so sustainable. We discussed the crisis of global warming, and overfishing. The causes and potential dangers of mercury from different bodys of water and different types of fish. We went into the different topics of local fish, farmed fish, wild fish etc. We discussed a great handful of information; more than I ever knew before. I thought it was a lot hitting me at this time of the morning, but it was okay, I was more than happy to be so attentive.
I think the main thing that I thought was important for myself was the fact that the tour guide told us to “stick with eating anchovies and sardines.” It just so happens that they are so low on the food chain that they don’t injest as much toxins, mercury and bad waste as the bigger fish do, so eating them is healthier. Good news for me! I love a piece of crusty bread with olive oil and anchovies. Or a nicely roasted sardine with tomato sauce and herbs. Bring it on, keep them coming my way, I’ll take it.
The tour went through different sections of the market where they take in and process orders. We learned so much about the fish that is eaten on a daily basis, plus information on the waters they come from. Just amazing how it all comes together.
As we gave our thanks’ and byes, we watched as orders were packed and driven off for delivery. Working a job where fish is caught fresh daily, butchered, and delivered at such early hours in the morning is tough, but is very dedicating. I give my thanks to the workers that handle these kinds of duties, without them I wouldnt be able to sink my teeth into prefectly seared Halibut with small dices of meyer lemon.
Still bright and early in the morning (around 8:30) we head to a small cafe to grab a bite and have some finely produced espresso. We chatted about the tour, the fish, and the world that is helping and also not helping this environmental system. Amazingly, most fish is endangered and or at risk of being, so if we can all give