Just yesterday, the 2013 North Carolina Seafood Festival concluded across the water from Beaufort in Morehead City, North Carolina.
North Carolina Soft Shell Crabs from Locals Seafood
A few weeks ago we wrote about 10 Ways to Bring Beaufort Home.
Number 2 on that list was one of the best ways we know to Bring a little Beaufort Home – eat great food no matter where you are. For any Beaufort lover, great food just has to include fresh North Carolina seafood. That’s just the kind of food that was celebrated during the seafood festival and the kind of food that is plentiful in Beaufort.
But…as we know, there’s always a but…
If you live any distance inland, you quickly realize how hard it is to get great North Carolina seafood.
So, how do you solve that problem?
How do you bring a little Beaufort home with fresh-from-the-water North Carolina seafood?
Here are three ways:
1. Pack a Cooler Full of Seafood Before you Leave Beaufort
This one’s a no brainer…simply stop by one of the seafood retailers in Carteret County before heading home.
In Beaufort, one of the best choices has to be Fishtowne Seafood at 100 Wellons Drive in Beaufort. The phone number is 252-728-6644, and they are generally open Monday through Saturday from 9:00am – 6:00pm. Fishtowne, and its owner Bill Rice, is famous for providing the freshest Carteret County Seafood.
On your next visit to Beaufort, be sure to bring along a cooler, stop by Fishtowne and stock up.
Other great Carteret County seafood markets close to Beaufort include Blue Ocean Market on Bridges Street in Morehead City and the Atlantic Beach Seafood Market on the causeway in Atlantic Beach.
Readers – feel free to let us know your favorites in the comments!
2. Support Inland Seafood Retailers Specializing in Fresh North Carolina Seafood
For us folks here in the middle of North Carolina, this always means a trip east to visit Locals Seafood, a company specializing in fresh North Carolina seafood selling in various locations around the triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill).
Fresh Beaufort-area shrimp from Locals Seafood
We visited them just this weekend and had our own home-based North Carolina seafood festival. Read on for details…
3. Patronize a CSF – a Community Supported Fishery
What in the world is a community supported fishery?
Like community supported agriculture, community supported fishery organizations seek to connect local fishermen (in this case, North Carolina fishermen) directly to consumers in an effort to provide the consumer with the freshest seafood, the fishermen with a fair price and a decent living, and the oceans and seas with a thoughtfully executed and sustainable harvest.
As LocalCatch.org (a network of CSFs) says, CSFs seek to reconnect coastal communities to their food system, encourage sustainable fishing practices, and strengthen relationships between fishermen and communities.
What could be better?!
In North Carolina, CSFs tend to bring seafood inland, mostly to the triangle, but also as far as Boone. The two CSFs with intimate ties to Beaufort and Carteret County are Walking Fish and Core Sound Seafood.
Also according to LocalCatch.org, CSFs:
- Establish a transparent chain-of-custody from boat to fork;
- Increase access to premium, locally caught seafood;
- Ensure fishers receive a fair price for their catch that reflects the value of their work;
- Engage fishers and community members in more robust, viable, local food systems;
- Provide a framework through which fishers and customers alike can creatively steward our marine resources.
If you’re in one of the areas they service, please don’t hesitate to patronize a CSF.
The Newsome Family Seafood Festival
We had a few family commitments that kept us in Alamance County (and away from Beaufort) this weekend. So to bring home a little Beaufort, we decided to have our own Newsome Family Seafood Festival.
Saturday morning, I made a trip east (about 40 miles) to the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market to visit Locals Seafood.
North Carolina Sheepshead from Locals Seafood
I arrived back in Burlington with a pound of shrimp from Beaufort, two live soft shell crabs and a sheepshead fillet. Now, I’ve never eaten sheepshead before, but last weekend at Front Street Grill at Stillwater’s Rhum Bar, Antonio – the world’s best bartender and an avid fisherman – told us that sheepshead tasted amazing, so considering that the diet of a sheepshead includes things like shrimp and crabs, I figured we’d give it a try.
It’s also a fish that you’ll never see in a grocery store or on a restaurant menu.
We had some backyard-end-of-the-season-home-grown-tomatoes on hand, so we thought we’d try some homemade cocktail sauce, too.
Shrimp on the Grill in Burlington
After cleaning the crabs, skewering the shrimp, cutting some lemons, and soaking some skewers, we lit the grill, popped open some beers, and began to channel some Beaufort. One of the great things about seafood on the grill is that it cooks quickly. In just a few minutes, we had our own family seafood festival.
The sheepshead was outstanding.
It was dense but slightly flaky with a rich taste that went really well with just some melted butter, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Sheepshead seem to be plentiful in North Carolina and it would be great to see the fish appear on some restaurant menus. Shrimp are always a hit, and the crabs were delicious.
Fresh North Carolina seafood is one of the best ways to bring home a little Beaufort. It takes some effort, but it’s well worth the trouble. Pay attention to where your seafood comes from and demand LOCAL!
And remember to:
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