If you feel as though you are stuck in a holding pattern with seafood, you are not too far off. We are in the throes of winter right now and getting product can be a bit difficult. Many seasons are set to kick off soon, but not just yet, leaving many of us simply begging for fresh product. It’s times like these that farmed species can really save the day. Fortune offers a variety of farmed items from reputable, sustainable farms, that can provide any menu with options during the dark days of winter. Try Char from Wisconsin, Bronzini and Dorade from Greece, Barramundi from Vietnam, Kampachi from Mexico, Redfish from Texas – the list goes on. You don’t have to accept the bleak outlook, there are delicious options to be sourced.
Netflix recently released an ambitious new series of documentaries that offer cross sections of food chains in our lives called Rotten. One of these episodes involves the cod industry, specifically the domestic and Icelandic fisheries. While the series is well done, I feel as though I should point out a slight imbalance in their coverage: There is another sector of suppliers out of Iceland that the series did not highlight as a viable source of seafood, one that Fortune tries to source its Icelandic cod from.
There is truth in the fact that the Icelandic quota is owned by fewer companies than in past years and it is difficult for the smaller fishermen to compete, but there are rules in place that limit the amount of quotas each company is allowed to have. What the documentary fails to highlight is the fact that the cod stocks were disappearing fast and something needed to be done, so the quota was cut and sold. This enabled some aggregation of quota, but at the same time the stocks rebounded. There were also a few small-scale fishing villages that survived and even today there are companies, like the one Fortune works with, that make every effort to purchase all of their cod from the smaller scale fishermen, supporting the small fishing villages in the process. The result of buying from these smaller fisheries is that you get a fresher, better handled product.
Now, I am a guy who’s all about spending my Sunday afternoon making Marinara. Taking eight hours out of my day, peeling tomatoes, crushing garlic, and tearing basil seems like a lot of fun to me. I realize that not everyone has the required time it takes to make good sauce, but everyone covets the flavor a good sauce can give, one that tastes crafted rather than made. When I find myself in a crunch, or just too tired to make my own, I grab a jar of Pirro’s, made right here in Woodstock, IL. Pirro’s is a female-owned company that sources American-grown, locally sourced products and incorporates them into secret generational recipes, creating beautiful, artisanal sauces. Unlock the lid and you can smell the vibrant vegetables and seasonings. Tasting Pirro’s will send you back to your grandmother’s kitchen, where everything that tasted perfect was delivered on a wooden spoon. So, if you find yourself without the time, before you get lost in a sea of brands and sauces, just grab a jar of Pirro’s. You may never have to make your own again.