Bay Journal

Carrying Chesapeake species from Sea to Table

New dock-to-chef seafood distributor picks up Bay species.

  • By Whitney Pipkin on May 05, 2015
Sustainable seafood supplier now carrying Chesapeake Bay species like this blue catfish. (Whitney Pipkin)

Sea to Table, an online-only distributor that connects chefs across the country with sustainable seafood as it hits the docks, has picked up several Chesapeake Bay species, making them more available at restaurants nationwide.

I first heard of the unique company, which has no warehouse yet helps move thousands of pounds of seafood, when one of its New York City-based employees ventured to D.C. to meet with area chefs last summer. I asked if the company was carrying any Chesapeake Bay species — like the storied and invasive blue catfish — yet, and she said, "Soon." 

Last month, I stumbled across the Sea to Table packaging when ordering some of that invasive-yet-delicious blue catfish from Washington Green Grocer. After writing for some time about how good it is for the Bay for us to eat this voracious and destructive fish, this was the first time I'd been able to order its filets online and cook them at home. 

"In the past year, we have kicked off and grown our Chesapeake Catfish program — finding better markets for this invasive species," Eliza Heeks with Sea to Table wrote in an email. 

She tells me that the company is now working with even more Chesapeake fishermen from places like Crisfield, Md., to supply their most sustainable catches to chefs and a few retail outlets throughout the country. Along with the catfish, monkfish, fluke, black sea bass, littleneck clams and crabs are on the menu from Bay fisheries. 

Sea to Table functions as a digital clearinghouse — instead of a physical warehouse — to connect chefs to seafood options that are both delicious and harvested in a manner that's better for our watersheds and oceans. Its Instagram feed will stoke your creative seafood fires and leave you wondering where you can get a taste locally.

In the D.C. area, several restaurants are beginning to work with the burgeoning supplier. Macon Bistro & Larder recently featured bluefish collar sourced from Sea to Table on its menu and is making a greater commitment to mid-Atlantic and Southern seafood species on its menu. José Andrés restauramts such as Zaytinya and Jaleo, are working with the supplier, as are lauded D.C. eateries like Proof Restaurant and Rose's Luxury. An event in June with area chef Tarver King will feature even more of the Bay's sustainable catches.

The seeds for Sea to Table were planted during the Dimin family's vacation to Tobago, where they discovered little known yet sustainably harvested seafood species and began connecting the sources to chefs in New York. The concept was expanded with Sea to Table, which now works with fishermen and chefs from Alaska to the Gulf Coast and the Carolinas to Maine. 

And, now, the Chesapeake Bay. Learn more about the company on its website

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About Whitney Pipkin
Whitney Pipkin, writes about food, agriculture and the environment. She lives in Alexandria, VA, and is a fellow of the Institute for Journalists of Natural resources and blogs at thinkabouteat.com.
Read more articles by Whitney Pipkin

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