We have been hosting Seafood Savvy educational series at the Windmill Market in Fairhope, Alabama, for the past year with the support of several groups. The Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission has generously donated funds to provide product, and the events are co-sponsored by Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the local participating businesses and seafood industry members.
The main goal of Seafood Savvy is to educate consumers on the importance of asking for and purchasing local Gulf seafood. We also teach attendees what to look for at a fish market if they are looking to prepare food at home, and/or what to ask for at a local restaurant when ordering seafood. They also gain a basic understanding of the biology and or habits of the species we are highlighting for the particular night.
We do this quarterly and select a seasonal seafood to highlight for the evening. The Windmill Market hosts a guest chef to demonstrate and prepare a sample tasting of the featured seafood. The chefs then talk with the audience about how they incorporate local seafood at their restaurants and why it’s important to them and their business to serve local seafood. This is followed by a very lively question and answer and discussion period!
Here is a recap of our inaugural year:
We kicked off the series last year on July 25, 2013, featuring blue crabs and our industry rep, Dana Taylor of Dana’s Seafood. Chef Dick Whiting of the Compleat Angler prepared West Indies Salad.
Our second Seafood Savvy was on November 12, 2013, featuring oysters and our industry representative Chris Nelson of Bon Secour Fisheries and Steve Crockett of Point aux Pins oyster farm. Chef Bill Briand of Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina prepared oyster stew and oysters on the half.
Our third Seafood Savvy was held on March 25, 2014, featuring sheepshead and our industry reps Chris Blankenship of the Alabama Marine Resources Division and Gary Finch of Gary Finch Outdoors. Chef Ryan Glass of Camellia Café prepared a Sheepshead Ceviche and Sauteed Sheepshead.
Our most recent Seafood Savvy was held on July 15, 2014, featuring shrimp and our industry rep Rosa Zirlott of Organized Seafood Association of Alabama. Chef Chris Rainosek of The Noble South prepared a Shrimp Pate.
We would like to eventually expand this series over to Mississippi as well!