By Tanya Henry
Black cod, sardines, mussels, clams and calamari are just a sampling of seafood selections that Real Good Fish (RGF) delivers weekly to as many as 63 locations in the Bay Area. Think CSA box for fish. And just as the agricultural offerings support small-scale farmers, Alan Lovewell’s Real Good Fish CSF (Community Supported Fishery) is all about building community and offering customers a “boat-to-plate” experience.
“It’s a dying industry,” laments Lovewell of the fishing business. “We are trying to shine a light on a trade that has endured decades of collapse—we want to show there is a way to be sustainable.”
Lovewell, a Santa Cruz resident, brings a background in public policy to his noble venture. Not only is he intent on showing people how delicious fresh, locally caught fish can be, but he also hopes to build a community that can work together, get to know each other and ultimately support greater ocean health.
Last year, Davy Jones Deli in Sausalito was the first drop where Marin residents could pick up their once- or twice-a-week delivery of fresh seafood. Eventually Driver’s Market signed on, and now Mill Valley, San Rafael and San Anselmo all have designated pick-up locations. Each share includes three to four portions, and the selections vary weekly. There is plenty of variety, as RGF sources 30 different species of Bay Area seafood—including everything from abalone and oysters to sand dabs and lingcod.
Members who sign up for the delivery service receive newsletters that offer inspiration by way of recipes, education and fishermen profiles. By educating consumers about the incredible and diverse bounty right here in their nearby waters, and offering preparation techniques and cooking ideas, Lovewell hopes that it will be the consumer driving change in the industry. “We believe fish is a public resource, everyone should have access,” he says.
Real Good Fish is also trying to chip away at the amount of fish the U.S. exports (more than 40 percent)—much of it to Asia. By introducing folks to fresh, clean seafood that bears little resemblance to the limp fillets in supermarket deli cases, and introducing them, by way of profiles, to the fisherman who catch their fish, RGF hopes to systemically change the way we consume our seafood.
To sign up or learn more about Real Good Fish, visit realgoodfish.com.