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Cape Anne CSF members - what's the mid-term grade?

I was interested in getting a half-share but as it happened, was computer-less for most of June so missed the sign-up. I was going to pursue the second round of membership but after reading a few complaints about quality and lack of variety, I haven't taken the plunge. What is your overall level of satisfaction, and will you join again?

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  1. What complaints? Could you link to them?

    2 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      There are a few grumbles on the thread on the Home Cooking Board, and on the namanet.org website.

      1. re: greygarious

        What, maybe one person wondering why their whiting wasn't filleted, ONE, and I repeat ONE bad fish that slipped thru, a few wondering where the lobster is?

    2. Hunh. I'm going to join again as soon as they open up the next 'session", and probably the winter shrimp share, too. I'd like a little more variety, but these are growing pains that are fairly minor. I'm so happy to be in on such a groundbreaking, affordable, direct program. I can't say enough about it...

      1. Variety? Hey, I'm just learning to fillet cod really well! We do the Appleton Farms pick-up. Last week our half-share cod was HUGE, and just off the boat that morning. One of the good points about a CSF is that the fishermen bring in what they are catching that week. If it's cod again - I can live with the same pristine fish once a week, and think about varying the sauce. My mid-term grade? I feel so very lucky/happy both to be a part of the CSF, and to get dirt-cheap fresh fish!.

        1. I think the quality has been great - everything has been fresh and tasty. In my opinion, the variety has been a problem (got the flounder/whiting combo once). I've eaten so much cod this summer, I feel guilty about it. However, it sounds like we might get some other stuff later in the season - that would be welcome.

          1. quality is superb. would like a bit more variety, but if that's how sustainable fishing goes, i can take it. we're splitting a half-share, so it's not overwhelming getting cod every week. the value can't be beat.

            1. I've heard questions about whether cod is truly sustainable, given that it's considered a no-go on fish lists. A friend of the Boston Localvores checked w/ NAMA, who said yes, it is.

              1 Reply
              1. re: djd

                That's essentially what they told us when people asked at the first couple pickups. Obviously, on one hand they are not unbiased (they're affiliated with fishermen who would like to fish for more than a few minutes), but on the other hand they are much closer to the situation and have better information than us. Who can say for sure how fish stocks are doing - all we can do is hope the regulations are working.

                As for the issue of bottom-trawling... they're essentially saying we've already dragged these fishing grounds for so long, it is how it is. If we changed the way we fish, maybe things would improve (in terms of habitat/bycatch), but it would more expensive and inefficient in other ways.

              2. I'm so happy to be part of this grand experiment. I think that with the overwhelming response and the fact that they pulled this thing off for 750ish people when the original plans were for 100 with only a 1 week delay is astounding. I think the few quips people have had here or elsewhere are the exception, not the rule. I think even the critical feedback is given in an effort to make the CSF as successful as possible. I will definitely be signing on for the next round and I am already coming up with ideas for the winter shrimp.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Snowflake

                  I responded to a survey requested from CAFC yesterday. I am really happy with the way they have solicited and responded to all of our feedback and questions. They have provided a variety of platforms for communication and proved to really want the feedback. If you have followed the discussions on this board, you will see that in a start-up program like this, positive feedback is just as important to submit as constructive or negative feedback. It is important to let them know exactly what we like along with any gripes. I hope everyone involved has taken the time to fill out the survey too. I've really learned a lot by participating. I am also really looking forward to my MONKFISH today.

                2. We had restricted our cod buying severely after reading the book, "Bottomfeeders" by Taras Grescoe. However, when we read of the CAFC we immediately decided to put our trust in the organizations sponsoring th endeavor. We do trust they are bringing fresh fish to us in the most efficacious manner. I was the one who got the passé cod in the first pick-up. An inauspicious start to be sure. However, each succeeding share has been pristine. I love being in on the beginning of the project and supporting local fisherpeople. . It can only get better.

                  Along with others, I too would like to see a wider variety, but again, I trust the that fisherpeople can only "catch what's running" at the time they're out on the water. At this time we have not made a decision about the second session, but do know we're going to sign up for the shrimp season....

                  1. Could not be happier. Quality is excellent. The experience is nonpareil in that we have learned how to filet, are on the wave of a new and important movement, and with our veg and meat CSAs we are now (with the exception of staples like flour, salt, vinegars, e.g.) eating entirely locally. Good for the palate, good for the body, good for the soul!

                    1. I'm surprised by all the reports of the high quality of the fish. For the last two weeks, I've gotten cod that couldn't be sold retail. The fishermen probably know this when they are catching the fish, and definitely know it when they are gutting and sorting the fish. I am starting to feel cheated and will be very unhappy if this continues. Sure the cod has been caught in the last 36 hours, but I didn't join to get fresh fish that's only good for chowder.

                      At my last pickup, I overheard some other people talking about the soft fish so I know that I am not the only one getting this.

                      My grade for the first few pickups is an A, but a solid F for the last two.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: azra

                          I've also seen variation in the freshness of the cod. I split my half share so I have had three pick ups. Last week's cod was very fresh, but the one I got on the second week of the CSA was definitely at least a day old, or more. It was not spoiled but it was not the same the wonderful fish I had heard about or the fish I got last week. It was not fishy smelling, and the gills had been removed so I could not check their color, but the eyes told the tale - somewhat shrunken.

                          I will be monitoring what happens over the course of the rest of the 12-week season. I would like to stay as a member. While I would like to see more variation in what we get, what would get me to not stay is too many more occasions on which it is clear that the fish was not as fresh as one would hope for.

                          Oh, in case anyone is wondering, my pickup day is Monday (Morse School, Cambridge).

                        2. I am happy that I signed up for this and I think it's a great idea, but personally I probably won't sign up again. I haven't had any complaints about the quality of the fish so far, but I am starting to get sick of Cod. I really thought the variation of fish would be more frequent. I understand it's what they can catch that day, but it's not worth it to me. I rather go to fish store and get what I feel like eating.
                          I pick up at Harvard on Tuesdays.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: CityPork

                            I agree with CP. This has been a great experience, but between how difficult it has been for me to coordinate pickups and the fact that I can't even finish off a half-share in a week, I'll probably pass on the next cycle. That said, I still think it's a great idea, especially if you have a large, fish-eating household and the time to make optimal use of the share. For instance, I would have loved to have used all the fish racks and bits to make stock, but I just haven't got the time.

                          2. I, too, would like more variety, but the experience overall has been great. I'm getting really good at filleting/skinning the cod. Would like more practice on flounder ;-). There are a ton of cod recipes available at various recipe web sites, and obviously more than a few here. I think it will only get better as more people get involved. I pick up in JP and am grateful for the extended hours, even though interaction with the fish folks is lost. It's nice to have a wider time span.

                            1. I'm bumping up this thread because last night we got our first fish of Cape Ann Fresh Catch's 2nd subscription round (we're new subscribers).

                              Our cod was terrific! Really really fresh, firm, clear eyes, smelling of the sea. I'll attach pix here.

                              We filleted the fish, skinned half of it, then grilled about 1/3 of it with a simple lemon/evoo/s&p marinade. We grilled the two halves of the collar in a spicy soy marinade. Saving a nice thick fillet for tonight to make fish tacos, and have frozen some not-well-butchered pieces for a seafood risotto. The head, fins, and bones will become stock.

                              I have learned that my knives need sharpening, but filleting was easier than I thought it would be, and I didn't need to scale the fish.

                              Yesterday's cod delivery gets an A in my book. I look forward to getting more practiced at butchering and using the whole fish. And the dude who was handing out the fish at Morse school in Cambridge was so nice and friendly. Thanks to Chowhound for turning me on to this great CSF.

                              5 Replies
                                1. re: litchick

                                  So happy your first experience with the CSF was so positive, litchick. Also, do make use of the CAFC website for current info and join the members forum for other interaction. There is a CSF recipe thread here on the Home Cooking board... Here's the link:

                                  BTW: It's Community Supported Fishery.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Thanks for the home cooking link, Gio! Very helpful.

                                    "BTW: It's Community Supported Fishery."
                                    - Eh? I know. Did I indicate otherwise?

                                    1. re: litchick

                                      OH not you... sorry for the confusion. The title of the thread is incorrect, that's all....I just mentioned it for future readers.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Gio: Oh, thanks!

                                        A question to everyone... I know it was discussed upthread, but I'd be interested in whether anyone's opinions have shifted or deepened over the last few weeks on the trawling vs. not trawling / localism / sustainability issues (see djd's useful link). As of yet, I still feel unresolved re: the CAFC, and NAMA's explanations of their positions on these issues.

                                        There's a useful follow-up post from Boston Localvores, here:

                                        And maybe this is a question better suited for the General Chow board, but given the Boston-centric issues triggered by the generations-long fishing industry hereabouts, I'd love to hear more from other area CSF members about how you're reconciling all the conflicting ethical positions. (Mods: feel free to shift this to the other board if you feel like you need to.)

                                2. I have been in contact with the organizers about a Boston pick up and because of restrictions ( they cant be with other food purveyors, and they need parking) it is hard to set up. Let me know if anyone has ideas- a church would work well if anyone has one that would be willing.

                                  1. Mmmm, we got monkfish yesterday! Three monkfish tails! Now, I feel myself swimming in riches!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: galleygirl

                                      Yay for you!! I hope we are as lucky on Saturday. I'm worried about the storm raging up the eastern seaboard. It will be off shore by then so I don't know how the fishing will be.