Monday, December 28, 2015

Here at Jones Ranch we are enjoying a break in the weather, and our plucky friends in Pt Judith keep producing, despite grappling with the nastiest storms of the season yet.  Consequently, we will have some domestics this week, while Eastern fish continues to be abundant.  Crab availability remains good, while pricing remains stupid.  Our urchin friends are diving today, so look for good availability of urchin, both whole and tubbed, Western Pack. 

We had a rousing Christmas here and are, to be honest, pretty tired.  Oysters and Lamb respect no holidays so on we burn.  Three Cheers to our crew members who persevered through the holiday!! Alejandro, Pat and Payton!!!

Christmas Outing at Jones Ranch.  

Science Corner
On a piscatorial note, A juvenile giant squid visited Toyama Bay, Japan and was filmed by a local diver.  
And, closer to home, an Oarfish, a gigantic, slithery denison of the deep, washed up on Catalina Island

Meanwhile, back in Pt Judith

Department of New Horizons.
Are you tired of the Seattle Culinary Mosh Pit? Does moving to a cold, lonely island appeal to you?  Do you need to get rid of a troublesome line cook?  Like huffing PVC glue?  Glue sniffing habit causing trouble in the kitchen?  We've got the solution!
Jones Farms is looking to hire a Algae wizard.  We feed our oncoming generations of juvenile shellfish six species of phytoplankton cultivated in a series of flasks, tubs, bags and tanks.  The job requires a detail oriented, steadfast character and involves a lot of systems building/maintenance/ experimentation.  

This job is uniquely suited to someone with a culinary background.  At it's essence, growing algae is like preparing thousands of gallons of bone stock daily. We are looking for a stock maker/biologist with the soul of a plumber, or a plumber with the soul of a biologist.  
Lopez Island is quite beautiful, friendly, and convenient to nowhere.  It has been our home for 25 years now, has an excellent school, a very limited, but extremely eager and somewhat predatory dating pool and happens to grow some of the finest oysters in the world.

Can you see yourself here?

How about here?

Pay starts at $15hr+.  Profit sharing based on production.  No tips.  
Call Ivan for Lopez Island dating advice.  Concerning the job, call Nick.  360-468-0533.  


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

True Fish-O-Gram! New pricing on Monk!! New source shout-out!

Holiday Delivery Schedule
Jones Family Farm will be closed Christmas Day December 25 and New Year's Day Jan 1.
We will be making deliveries Monday thru Wednesday as normal. 
We will be delivering fresh fish on Thursday, December 24. 
Order Live seafood and shellfish for Monday and Wednesday delivery.

Fisherman and Friend, coming to a Cantina near you.

Another week, more new fishes!  We hope we can keep this up! 

Local Fish Update
Local fish is going to be very tight this week.  Currently we have small volumes of Petrale, Dover and True Cod. We may see more of this as the week wears on.  Fresh Black cod is probably a non-starter.  Urchin availability is solid for Weds.  Crab is available, but ridiculously priced.  

Warm-Water Fish Update
Warm water fish continue to be available and excellent, highlights are Branzini, Tai Snapper, Grouper filets and Fiji Albacore.

Eastern Fish Update
Our friends in Rhode Island keep coming through for us, despite the John Dory being involved in an accident on the Mass Turnpike (the fish was unscathed) and having their entire computer system crashed by bitcoin-demanding cyber pirates on Friday.   

Pirates notwithstanding, the fish must fly.  And fly they have.  We currently have FRESH:
John Dory, NEW! Sardines, Mackerel, Monk Tails Special Price, NEW! Skate Wing, 
Medium Fluke, NEW! Large Fluke, Ink-In Squid

Solstice Monk
Beginning Wednesday, days will begin lengthening again, making Tuesday the shortest day of the year.  Another milestone behind!! Another spring ahead!!  For those of you who did not get around to securing a goat for ritual sacrifice, we feel Monkfish is a suitable alternative.  Accordingly, we are offering a special on Monkfish-tails.  Monk is a true fish treasure from the East, kind of like a cross between lobster and blackcod.  Preparations are limited only by your imagination!  Monk rolls!  Monk Fricassee! Monk and Kidney Pie! Send us your recipes!

Sardines from distant lands

Bright eyed and shiny scaled.  RI sardines up-close-and personal.  

As detailed in a previous missive, fluke occupy a special place in the fish pantheon.  They are useful in all forms, including sashimi.  We have yet to see or taste Fluke, as they are currently winging their way to us, but we are looking forward to a Fluke Christmas Dinner.  Please join us in welcoming fluke to the Jones Fish List!!!!  Look for Fluke Fotos later today.  

John Dory Story
As we here at Jones Ranch eat our way through the new fishes, our stand-out favorite so far is John Dory.  A bottom dweller, thay are found on temperate-water continental shelves world-wide, Dory are generally too dispersed to be targeted in fisheries.  Instead they are taken in small volumes as bycatch.  As such, Dory has never been a culinary mainstay and has does not, we think, warrant the respect it deserves.   
Best description of this fish is that it tastes like halibut ought to taste--like our Salish Sea Halibut tastes for those brief, golden weeks in the spring.  John Dory flesh is tender, rich and surprisingly flavorful.
Biologically they are glorious--they have a huge, bellows-like mouth with which they can vacuum up unsuspecting squid and small fish from beneath.  They are clearly not a swift or ferocious animal--their protection is armor plating top and bottom to repel predators, meaning that filleting them involves cutting under the guards.  It's like fileting a hedge trimmer. 
Get your Dory On for the Holidays!!!

John Dory Glamour Shot

New Friends from the Eastside
We have been working on adding East-Coast fish to our product list for some time now.  This effort began with our long-standing, shirttail connection to Osprey Seafoods, better known and personified as Johnny Osprey.  When Johnny quit operations, we tried to fold him, and his legendary sourcing into the JFF hairball.  When he demurred we went out on our own looking for sourcing.  The East-Coast fish world is a little more treacherous than the West-Coast industry.  There seem to be a lot of criminally minded folk in the business over there, and selecting an outfit to work with was a question of no small concern to us.  Many of you have had rough experiences trying to privately source Eastern product.  What comes through the fish auctions is transparent, at least, but the quality seems to be kind of dubious.  Here, if we get a scruffy batch of fish we send it back, but once fish has flown there is no rejecting it.  So for the past months we have been spinning our wheels, trying to find someone we could feel confident would not send us refreshed Ocean Pout for Monkfish, short us on weight, or spike the Mackerel with razor blades.   

So, two weeks ago we took the plunge and ordered a pallet of fish from an outfit called The Town Dock, based on a phone call and a couple of texted pictures.  And we are delighted with how it is working out.  As our distribution grows, we have sought out partners with whom we can work fully.  Most important is finding folk who share our passion for seafood, do what they say they will and are fun to work with.  We do not work with people unless we can unreservedly endorse their quality, practices and endorse them personally.  We are as proud of our sourcing family as we are of our family of customers.  These relationships are what has kept us going through all the ups and downs of business, fire disaster and more.  These relationships allow us to offer you a level of quality, variety and novelty that no-one else can.  

So, from the first delivery of Rhode Island fish, we have been ever more impressed with their quality, service and Joy-In-Seafood.  In conversations with them, we have learned a few fun facts that we thought worth passing on to you-all.  A family business, they have been operating since 1980.  Their primary business is large-volume squid processing.  Finfish are an extra, largely caught day boat hook-and-line and trap fishers and by-catch in the squid harvest.  Any fish that does not come up to specs or is not sold within a day gets shipped to the Boston Fish Auction and dumped on the commodities market.  In other words, from Town Dock, through JFF, you receive the highest quality, most carefully sourced Eastern fish available anywhere.  Right where we want to be.  Accept no substitutes!!!
Please check out The Town Dock on youtube.
Point Judith, RI
--The JFF Crew.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Weather has calmed on coasts near and far, and we have the product of that happy circumstance headed to you!

This will not last--our west coast weather is predicted to get nasty again in a few short days.  We may have a pulse or two of fresh, local fish again before the holiday, but don't count on it.  East Coast weather looks to be fairly civil over the next spell, but it is late December, after all.  Still, we expect to have a reasonably steady supply of the Eastern product.

We have all the previously announced fresh fish, plus a few key additions;

From hard-working Neah Bay we a small volume of 4-7#  blackcod (!!!) for tomorrow.  Yahoo!! No orders for specific sizing, please.  

From hard-drinking Point Judith, Rhode Island we have Skate Wing and Fluke coming.  Skate wing we all should be familiar with.  The bane of commercial fishers everywhere, Skate's one redeeming factor is the wings, beloved of Korean chefs and hipsters worldwide.  If anyone is extra-excited about skate, we have a good bit in the freezer from last years' halibut fishery that we would part with cheap.  But Friday we will have fresh, Rhode Island skate!
As for Fluke, this is a new fish to us.  Therefore, a little internet research is in order for some fun, Fluke facts.  
Inline image 1

Otherwise known as Summer Flounder, it may well be the Prince of Flounder.  
This spotted denizen of coastal waterways is a legendary fish in it's home-territory.  So much so that I found a business selling taxidermy fluke blanks, making it maybe the only flatfish commonly stuffed.  
It's culinary prospects are deep and wide. Unlike most flatfish, Fluke is often served raw (commonly identified by the Japanese as Hirame) and performs particularly well as ceviche or crudo. Cooked, their white, flaky meat holds up well to many types of preparations, including the fry pan, the grill, the steamer or the oven. Because they are low in natural oils, fluke fillets have a tendency to dry out, and they are commonly served poached or broiled with liquid, although strong sauces can overpower its sweet and delicate flavor.  We have yet to see these Fluke, but everything else we have gotten from these folk has been of superlative quality.  Treat it like a flounder--love it like sashimi!  Heck, taxidermy and mount it in your employee bathroom!

Sizing and price TBD depending on what the boat brings in tomorrow.  Available Friday. 

Also--the RI squid is so fresh that we at Jones Ranch have been eating has been very hard to clean.  Our Pt Judith friend tells us that soaking the squid in salted, iced water for a few minutes will open it up and make extracting the quill much easier.