Underscoring its commitment to help the community learn about the many lesser-known, more affordable, but still great tasting fish species that are plentiful in the waters throughout the Florida Keys, Dock to Dish Key West, in conjunction with the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association today announced plans to host a series of sunset “Fish School” events that combine education with fish-tasting, refreshments, and community socializing.
The first beachfront Fish School event will take place next Thursday, May 21st from 7:00PM until 9:00PM at the Dock to Dish Community Seafood Market (CSM) located at 3101 North Roosevelt Boulevard. Dock to Dish members and their guests are welcome to attend, according to Dock to Dish Key West Co-Founder Tony Osborn. “Our local waters have an abundance of healthy, great tasting fish and seafood that are not very well known, if at all,” Osborn said today. “Because these species lack consumer demand, they’re often far less expensive than those that are highly popular. These events will show our community that by purchasing certain species, you can still enjoy entirely fresh, local, and delicious seafood without spending a lot.”
However, as Osborn and his Dock to Dish team emphasize, promoting lesser-known species does more than make seafood more affordable; it also eases the burden on the more in-demand and thus overfished species. “The current seafood industry in the America is demand-driven and when consumers are only aware of a few species, these species are subject to overfishing,” Osborn said. “By educating our community at Fish School events on our water’s wide variety of species, we allow our fish populations to regenerate while making fresh, local seafood more affordable for our community. It’s this positive impact on both our community and the Key West ecosystem that’s at the core of the Dock to Dish mission.”
In addition to promoting lesser-known species, the monthly Fish School events will also introduce the community to what Dock to Dish has dubbed their “Three Hands Fish” philosophy – a business model that guarantees their fish fresh while supporting the local Florida Keys commercial fishermen.
According to Osborn, the ‘first hand’ is the hand of the Dock to Dish commercial fisherman who actually caught the fish. The ‘second hand’ is the Community Seafood Market that cleans and prepares the fish, and the ‘third hand’ is the community and restaurant members who cook and consume the fish. Unlike traditional markets and grocery stores, whose supply chain can include at least 12 separate links, the Dock to Dish seafood supply chain is made up of only the ‘three hands’ in the Three Hand Fish philosophy. “Our very short and transparent harvesting and handling process ensures that your local seafood is always fresh, never frozen; always delicious and nutritious,” Osborn emphasized.
The inaugural Dock to Dish Fish School event will feature three interactive stations manned by Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen Association members, Community Seafood Market fish cutters, and Dock to Dish Restaurant Member chefs. The first station will feature Dock to Dish fishermen who will teach members and their guests about a lesser known, in-season local fish species; the second station will feature Dock to Dish Community Seafood Market cutters teaching members how to fillet, de-bone, scale, and skin the same in-season local species; the third station will feature a Dock to Dish restaurant chef preparing and cooking that very same fish.
“In just a few months time, we’ve established strong relationships with nine of Key West’s most prominent restaurants, supplying them with Dock to Dish fish on a daily basis,” said Paul Menta, local chef and Co-Founder of Dock to Dish. “Involving the growing number of restaurants who support Dock to Dish in these events provides our members with the opportunity to learn fresh fish cooking tips from our community’s top chefs – it’s an experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere.”
“The Dock to Dish Fish School is another great step forward in our association’s efforts to forge a meaningful relationship between commercial fishermen and the consumers who benefit the most from their catch,” emphasized FKCFA Executive Director Bill Kelly. “The growing success of the Dock to Dish Key West Community Seafood Market is helping to improve the livelihoods of our members while raising the general consumer population’s appreciation for what commercial fishermen contribute to our economy and our way of life.”