March 15th 2013
When Is A Fish Fillet Not A Fillet?
When it's a Steak, a Supreme. a Pave, an Escalope, a Quarter Cut, a Canoe Fillet, a Loin ....I could go on. Take Mackerel Fillets - butterfly fillet or a single fillet?
Is a fillet a side of a fish or a portion of fish? If you ask for a fillet of Sea Bass, you will get farmed fish and approximately 120g which is a small portion.
What is a fish steak?
Ordering Kipper Fillets? - you will get a pair like these
So it is in the fish trade, just set up to be as confusing as possible. Nevermind we still love it and are here to answer your questions and to ask you questions when you order so we get it right.
Of yes and they still wholesale in stones!
March 1st 2013
Doing The Right Thing Right
Is it ever right not to do the right thing? Some organisations think it is - no prizes for guessing which is on the radar this week- TESCO's. Now don't get me wrong I am no goody two shoes but when the CEO of Tesco's addresses the NFU conference promising to source from British farmers you have to ask was not that the right thing to do anyway? Why was it ever a good idea to import meat products from countries whose welfare standards are known to be sub standard, not withstanding the negative environmental impact of transporting goods over large distances. We all know why of course - the bottom line of profits. 480 million pounds was knocked off Tesco's market value when the horsemeat scandal broke on January 16th. They are rattled so now all of a sudden it suits to support the British farmer. An independent panel of experts will advise on a shotened and simplfied supply chain and an expert farm consultant will be appointed.
Now of course we know this will all cost money but the CEO Clark said "it does not follow that the measures I am announcing today mean that food needs to become more expensive," contradicting comments he made earlier in the day, when he told BBC's Today radio programme that he hoped, but could not promise there would be no price increases.
We need to see Tesco working in true collaboration with our farmers, paying a fair price and offering them meaningful, long term contracts.
Ok Mr Clark if you are now going to to the RIGHT thing lets see you see you do it RIGHT.
PS The Tesco scandal has moved to B&Q they have discovered their wooden flooring has laminit. oh dear!
Feb 15th 2013
Enough of horsegate for now, mildly bored with it but just must share this last joke which one of our customers sent to me. "I got Findus Lasagne out of the freezer ......it was OFF" Oh dear, enough I hear you say.
I watched Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's programme last night (9pm Channel 4 if you want to catch it on iplayer). I have been a great fan of his work in helping to push through the recent decision by the European Parliament to ban discards, but after last night's programme I am less sure. It all struck me as a bit sensationalised, dragging a scallop dredger across a beach 'decorated' with sea shells, seaweed, sand castles and the like. Farmers do not plough up every bit of farm land in the country, nor do scallop fishermen tow dredges or trawls over every bit of the seabed. I do understand that scallop dredges can have a significant impact on the marine ecosystem but what Hugh didn't mention are all the mitigating measures which are taken - seabed mapping to target scallop beds,mesh sizes to allow juvenile scallops to escape, closed seasons and Marine Protection Areas. The other common method of catching scallops is trawling. This is done on relatively smooth seabeds resulting in low seabed impact and low by catches. The scallop industry is worth £54 million to UK ports, 60% of the scallops landed are exported to Europe, particularly France, where UK scallops are held in high regard.
All I can say is that with most contentious issues there is always another side, I just think on this occasion Hugh did us a disservice by not showing us the other side.
Happy Fish Eating
PS. Next Week - I will try and explain The Mackerel Issue!
Feb 8th 2013
Well where do I begin this week? So much to rant about. I guess it all boils done to honesty, transparency and integrity which seems to be sadly lacking in some areas of the food industry at the moment. Firstly we had the exposure that supermarkets are ripping us off by the way they price fruit and veg per unit rather than per kilo, making price comparison almost impossible and now the horse meat scandal. Surely if you put your name to a Brand you should know what's in it? You might think I am sitting here smug as smug, well not quite, although of course I am championing the cause of eating more REAL food from trusted suppliers.The TRUE fact is that fish suppliers are not whiter than white. I have evidence that some wholesalers are deliberately misleading the catering and food service trade in the way they price. For example Sea Bass Fillets priced at £7.85 per kilo. What, I scream, we can't even buy near that price. Hang on, I say they have priced Sea Bass Whole at £7.52 per kilo but the yield from whole Sea Bass is 44%. So you would get 440g fillet from a kilo making the REAL cost of a kilo of fillet £17.84 - comprendre?!! Beware all is not as it seems - even in the fish trade!
There has been so much on Twitter about the horse meat scandal, some of it very amusing. So I end on a lighter note with a few tweets which I hope will make you smile on this cold February day:
Now I know what 'horses for courses' means
Further Findus controversy as fish revealed not to have fingers
Now I know where Shergar ended up
Beware of the Findus Bologneighs
Food Standards Agency says its not a food safety issue, who are they trying to foal
Happy Fish Eating
Feb 1st 2013
" Not a rant this week, having decided to give the supermarkets a week off! Really I don't hate them, just their dominance over our food chain. Anyway moving on, John, (chief fishmonger extraordinaire), and I had a very nice day yesterday out on the road. We both appreciated being released from the computer keyboard and fish cave respectively. The others in the unit thought we might kill each other being trapped in a car together all day but in fact we had some good chats about the business and generally put the world to right. The purpose was to visitsome of our farm shop customers to tell them about our 'NEW PRODUCT Range - Fish Without Fuss and to introduce ourselves to others for the first time. I think most people are a little wary of 'cold calling' but I must say we had a lovely reception from Chris and Esta at Battlefield 1403, Elaine at Moor Farm Shop and Craig at Apley Farm Shop. They are all going to start taking our retail fish packs as well as offering a Pre Order Service. We will let you know when these are up and running.
Happy Fish Eating
Jan 25th 2013
" When is a 'freebie' not a freebie? Almost always, especially when it is offered by the supermarkets. Oh I can hear you say, there she goes again slagging off the supermarkets! True I say but I just can't help myself. Take this week with the exposure that we are being ripped off by buying fruit and veg in the supermarket through their practice of pricing per item rather than per kg. What an insult to consumers.
This week a customer politely suggested that our NEW Fish Without Fuss range (fish with a flavoured butter packed in a cook bag) is not competitive because Waitrose and possibly other supermarkets offer this as a 'FREE' service. I equally politely suggested that when the cost of their prime Salmon Fillet (no provenance) is £18.99 per kg compared to ours at £17.95 and that you have to go in store, select, purchase, pack and transport your fish, the addition of some butter and a cook bag is not FREE. To add insult to injury this range from Waitrose, called Garnish & Go, is not available on line and if it was you would need to spend £50 to get free delivery or you can shop in store and then pay £5 delivery. Compare this to our meager 99p delivery for £15 minimum spend.
So to my mind we have copied a great idea, with better quality fish, (with provenance) at a cheaper price. Don't think we can do much better than that.
19th Jan 2013
"When is a horse not a horse? When it's a Sea Horse, Horse Mackerel or a Beef Burger. Oh dear I hear you say. Joking aside, the issue of food not being all it seems is a serious point. It is of no health concern that purchasers of some beef burgers have unknowingly been eating horse meat. That will not do anybody any harm, it is widely enjoyed across Europe and is lower in fat than beef. The problem is that it was added to a mirriade of other ingredients loosely passed off as food -phosphates, antioxidants (preservatives, natural or otherwise), sugar! What is sugar doing in a beef burger? Our supermarket shelves are stocked with substances more appropriate to chemistry laboratories. With the huge food related health problems our nation faces it is really time we recognised the importance of REAL food - unadulterated and unprocessed. The desire for cheap food and the greed for profit by the supermarkets has been a disaster and changed the eating habits of our nation for the worse but hopefully not for ever. What goes round come round, so here's to the butcher,the baker,the candlestick maker, not forgetting the fishmonger of course!"
Fiona's New Year Rant
"I hate the way low cal foods, diets, gym membership and the like are rammed down your throat at this time of year. You've had your fun now it's cut backs, penance and the like. These messages just make January feel an even more depressing month than it already is. But this time of year can have a warm glow about it, a time for snuggling by the fire in those oh so soft fleecy Xmas pj's; a time for nurturing and eating foods that make you feel comfortable ( NOT comfort food). Don't let the guilt mongers get to you. When was guilt ever a recipe for success and happiness. Eat healthily yes, but eat well. Does deprivation work in the long term, not in my world.
My autumn plan of avoiding supermarkets is working a treat. Since September I have been having a weekly veg and fruit box, using our local butcher (cheaper, bespoke, better quality and range) and getting staples in bulk from the cash and carry every 6 weeks. Ok, so I have to venture to the dark side every now and again for a few things, but oh the freedom, the joy of passing up on that weekly - into trolley, to checkout, to packing, to car, to unpacking. If I seem a bit smug about all this I am and save around £20 a week on not buying things I don't really need. So there!
Happy New Year