North Shore Locavore checks out BLFF!
The festival will be an amazing opportunity to discover and sample local produce, seafood, beer/wine, and more that can be found on the North Shore and in and around Boston.
There will be five vendors/restaurants from the North Shore among the dozens scheduled to appear at the festival, including Cape Ann Fresh Catch (Gloucester), Revitalive Cafe (Newburyport), Turner’s Seafood (Gloucester), Issaks of Salem, and Grace Farm Organics (Lynn).
Gloucester will be well-represented at “Fish Stock,” a festival highlight featuring filleting and cooking demonstrations and free samples all day, as well as a “Seafood Throwdown” competition from noon to 2:30pm.
At the throwdown, Chef Collins and his opponent, Derrick Prince, of Long Island, N.Y., will each be allowed to bring three ingredients to use with a mystery seafood. Once the secret main ingredient is revealed, they’ll each be given $25 and 15 minutes to shop the festival’s vendors for additional ingredients for their dishes.
“They like to throw you a curveball and give you something more to think about,” said Collins in a phone interview this week. He doesn’t expect he’ll be working with the likes of haddock or salmon at the competition.
“Most people see haddock but don’t realize that there are plenty of other types of fish that are just as good if not better—fish not being caught in mass quantities. You know its going to be wild and and fresh,” said Collins, who judged another throwdown competition at the Cape Ann Farmers Market earlier this summer.
Since returning from the taping of Fox’s MasterChef series, Collins has launched a personal chef business called Sustenance. The former Dog Bar and Alchemy chef said he is encouraging his clients to consider local foods and he’s trying to make menus as close to farm-to-table as possible. He credits Annisquam’s Willow Rest as his source for local produce.
Seafood, Mead, and More
Although Gloucester’s community-supported fishery, Cape Ann Fresh Catch (CAFC), will not have a vendor table at this year’s festival, you will be able to find them camping out in the “Fish Stock” area all day providing demos and samples.
Stick around after the throwdown, from 2:30 to 5pm, and sample some red fish soup prepared on-site by the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association. Or enjoy some fish cakes prepared by CAFC partner Turner’s Seafood, also of Gloucester.
CAFC will have a team of about five people on hand that will be able to answer festival-goers questions about the program or any of its 20 weekly distribution sites (5 on the North Shore).
“People are amazed,” said Heather Fraelick, CAFC’s marketing and communications director. “So many people don’t know about our program. But more people are getting involved in CSAs and realizing it really does matter more and more where they source their food.”
According to Fraelick, CAFC is still accepting applications for the fall season, which just got started earlier this month. She said events like the Boston Local Food Festival have become a great opportunity for them to connect with people who are interested in incorporating local seafood into their daily routines but a little anxious about the program.
“People are excited about the program,” said Fraelick, who recounted CAFC’s experience at last week’s “Fishtival” event at the Newburyport Farmers Market. ”But it doesn’t work for everyone. So we’ve really tried to make it manageable for people. There’s a fillet option, a bi-weekly option, and we have four seasons now.”
Local Craft Brew Tasting
You’ll need something to wash down all that seafood, right? The festival will host three 2-hour tasting sessions featuring 10 New England breweries and wineries. Tickets for each session are $25 each, and this event sold out last year so you’re encouraged to buy tickets online and reserve your spot at a session before you go.
One of the featured vendors is Isaak’s of Salem, a winery sourcing local honey, fruit, and other ingredients to make mead. The festival will be a great opportunity to learn more about this new North Shore winery.
If you’ve got leftover produce in your garden, bring it with you to the festival. Thanks to the forward-thinking folks at South Boston Grows and The Food Project, any homegrown produce you donate to the festival will be distributed after the festival to families in need.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and discover more about local food from the North Shore and beyond.