Sunday, April 10, 2011

CSF: Why Not Here?

We recently visited Charleston, SC with some friends and took part in a culinary walk. Charleston is really taking off when it comes to their food scene. They are very much into the local food scene with plenty of CSAs.

It was on this tour that I was introduced to the concept of CSF - Community Supported Fishery. These are just taking hold in the east and I found myself wondering if these are available here in the Bay Area.

Unlike my CSA, where you pay as you go, these CSFs require a one-time hefty down payment and then you get a certain amount of seafood as it's caught. Most CSFs follow sustainable practices and catch what's local and in season. They also independent and family-owned.

A Christian Science Monitor article describes how...

Two Maine brothers, John and Brendan Ready, sell subscriptions of lobster and other seafood under the name Catch a Piece of Maine. Their 150 subscribers receive shipments and can even go online to check on the status of their underwater investment.

These community-supported fisheries (CSFs) attempt to replicate the success of small farmers using the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model. Like CSAs, the idea is that shareholders will invest at the beginning of the season with guaranteed return of food dividends all season long.

Once home, I did some research. The nice folks in Charleston readily admit that Alice Waters and other Bay Area gurus are their inspiration. New restaurants there remind me of Berkeley's Gather where the source of every ingredient is documented on the menu. So if they have CSFs in Charleston, then we should certainly find them here, right? Well, not yet. It seems that
CSFs have not yet started here in the Bay Area. But it seems only a matter of time, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

In the meantime, the best thing to do in the Bay Area is to use this page (scroll down) for a list of places to buy seafood off the boat or at a local farmer's market.

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