from the Farm Kitchen

Buying Seafood in Season

To get the best prices on seafood, buy when the fish or shellfish are in season and available in large quantities. "Fresh wild salmon caught during the bountiful summer and early fall runs is much less expensive than salmon caught during the winter months," writes Braiden Rex-Johnson in Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook , referring to Pacific Northwest stocks. Harvesting seasons and sources for many wild seafoods are as follows:



Rock – season 
    Aug. - Dec. in Gulf
White – season 
     June – Aug. for Gulf
      Mex fall – spring
Brown – season 
    June – Aug. for Gulf
Pink – season 
    Jan. – June for Gulf

Cocktail Shrimp

Oregon – season 
    April – Oct.
Norwegian, Canadian, Alaskan – season 
    spring – fall
Warm Water – 
    year round from S.E. Asia & India

Monterey Squid
    April – June in Northern California
    Oct. – Dec. in Southern California


Atlantic – season 
    spring – fall
Pacific – season 
    January – fall with periodic closures

Alaskan and Oregon Crabs

Dungeness – seasons 
     Dec. 1st – Summer in Oregon, 
     Fall opening in Northern Washington State
     Summer opening in Alaska
King Crab – season
     Fall in Alaska
Snow Crab – season 
    January – Spring


Clams can be harvested year-round, but state, national and local governments usually set limits or establish harvest seasons to conserve the resource or protect consumers from toxins that clams produce when algae levels are high.

Crate of Raw Clams
Crate of Raw Clams
In the warm summer months, clams are susceptible to bacteria. The healthiest clams, therefore, are those harvested from autumn through early spring. And the best are those purchased and eaten within a day or two of harvest.

Hard shell clams like little neck, cherry stone, top neck, and quahogs are most commonly found in markets. Soft shell clams like steamers, long necks and geoducks are preferred for clam bakes. Both varieties have similar flavor and can be used interchangeably in most dishes.


Salmon Fillets

Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook
Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook
by Braiden Rex-Johnson
This gift-sized cookbook, nicely illustrated with photos of Pike Place Market, promotes and supports buying, preparing and consuming the fresh seafood found at the Seattle landmark.

Pacific Northwest seafood stocks are among the best managed, most sustainable and safest to eat in the world. This revised edition of Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook (originally published in 1997) excludes recipes for species that are endangered or whose harvesting methods threaten other sensitive species like marine birds or sea turtles.

"The finfish and shellfish varieties highlighted in the recipes in this book are (so far) sa to buy and eat," Braiden Rex-Johnson assures.

Her new book still includes an overview of the Pike Place Market's history and tips on selecting and preparing seafood. The 50 or so recipes are grouped by the primary species used in the dish: Halibut, Salmon and Smoked Salmon, Alaskan Spot Prawns and Bay Shrimp, Clams, Crab, Mussels, Oysters and The Odd Kettle of Seafood (albacore tuna, sablefish, smelt, sturgeon, trout, steelhead, scallops, squid).

"Buy fish that are less well known or popular," Rex-Johnson advises. "Everybody knows how delicious fesh king salmon can be, but how many people have tried lesser-known species, such as coho or keta? Or how about farm-raised trout, tilapia, or catfish?"

Look to the back of the book for recipes for some seafood sauces and an appendix of seafood preparation techniques.

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