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Managing seafood takes new directions

At a time when stocks of cod, one of the most popular fish in New England, are at an all time low, we wanted to share a piece we just saw in an email from FishChoice.com.
“With a coastline of just 18 miles, the smallest in the U.S., New Hampshire is not exactly a significant seafood producer. But don’t tell that to Josh Wiersma. He’s too busy trying to save the state’s shrinking fishing fleet.

With stocks of cod, New England’s bread-and-butter fish, at record lows in the Gulf of Maine, the New England groundfish industry is in full survival mode. Stocks of other groundfish like haddock, redfish and pollock are in great shape, but fishermen can’t catch as much of those fish as they could without also catching the endangered cod. And getting New Englanders to eat any fish other than cod or haddock is also a major challenge.

In an effort to let fishermen still grind out a living, the New England Fisheries Management Council abandoned its “days-at-sea” regulatory scheme and replaced it in 2010 with a sector-based “catch share” scheme that allows fishermen to buy and sell quota so they can fish more to the needs of the market and, hopefully, reduce their by-catch of threatened stocks like cod. This is where Josh Wiersma comes in.

New Hampshire Community Seafood Josh WiersmaOutfitted with a newly acquired Ph.D. in fisheries economics from the University of Rhode Island, in May 2010 Wiersma “decided it would be fun to manage the New Hampshire small boat groundfish sector to see how fisheries economics play out in the real world. “It was a chance to develop market-based solutions and efficiencies based on theories I studied in school,” he says. One of the first things he did was to develop a program for lesser-capitalized fishermen to compete under the new catch-share system, in which the older fishermen came out much better than fishermen who had only fished a few years. “With a catch share system you always have winners and losers. I wanted to create a way for younger fishermen to join the business at a time of great uncertainty. “

To do that he acquired government loans and worked with the Nature Conservancy to form a permit bank that would buy out permits in an effort to give struggling small-boat fishermen the chance to buy quota at half the market price. Then last year, Wiersma co-founded New Hampshire Community Seafood, a coop that connects his small boat fleet directly to consumers and restaurants. In its mission statement, the group says it is a “pioneering effort intended to reconnect the local consumer base with New Hampshire commercial fisherman via a new marketplace for locally sourced seafood—a direct market from boat to plate.”

In just two years, the New Hampshire Community Seafood’s CSF has grown to more than 550 members who pick up their fish weekly at seven locations in New Hampshire. Members can buy fillets in 2, 1 or even ½ pound increments for three eight-week seasons a year. Members cannot order by species, they must take what the fishermen catch, which varies week to week.

“We want people to start eating some of these lesser known species so our boats can fish the species that have very low quota costs,” he says. Redfish and pollock quota, for example, cost about $.02 a pound, much less than cod quota, which can run as high as $2 a pound. Consumers and restaurants pay $12.50/lb. for fillets, regardless of the species. This allows the coop to pay more for fishermen to handle the fish better, especially dogfish, whose stocks are at unprecedentedly high levels.

“Fishermen need an incentive to fish for species like dogfish. This gives it to them because we can make it worth their while if they ice and bleed the fish. It’s a whole new product for consumers and restaurants and they buy into it. People are paying for freshness, the story of the fishermen and the certainty of traceability. They don’t complain once they understand our mission objectives,” Wiersma says.

New Hampshire Community Seafood also gives its members the opportunity to become owners by buying shares of stock for $100 each and a chance to sit on the board. “It’s a novel way that consumers can participate in the policy of managing the resource and become advocates for the fishery. It’s a tremendously engaged group. I use them as political lobby.””

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Wine of the Week – Félines Jourdan Picpoul De Pinet

When you think of the Languedoc region France, you think of Picpoul De Pinet made from the original Piquepoul grape that is native to the area. Fresh and flowery, it offers aromas of citrus fruits and anise seed as well as fennel, lime and more. Ideal as an aperitif, it plays well with shellfish, oysters and grilled seafood. It’s lovely on a summer day, but don’t ignore it in the winter months! Make it your “winter white” and keep it on the shelf year-round. Félines Jourdan has been praised for its value and the New York Times called it “addictive.” This Picpoul blends three “terroirs” with their individual soils and climate – Félines, Les Cadastres, and La Coulette. Check out http://www.felines-jourdan.com/AOC-Picpoul-de-Pinet.html?lang=fr

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Best New Products chosen at IHMRS

The International Hotel-Motel+Restaurant Show saw five exhibiting firms take home Editors’ Choice Awards this week, with EcoWall Garden™ winning the Kenneth F. Hine “Best of Show” honors.
The winners, listed by their categories, were:

GREEN: EcoWalls’ (Bordentown, NJ) Chef’s EcoWall Garden™ successfully blends form with function with its specifically designed system that controls water, nutrients, and lighting to create a sustainable growing environment for a wide variety of fragrant herbs, leafy greens, and other edible plants year-round.

KITCHEN DESIGN: Franke (Aarburg, Switzerland) BKON Craft Brewer’s proprietary brewing process called RAIN™ (Reverse Atmospheric Infusion™) uses reduced air pressure as a brewing or infusion variable that produces deep and layered flavor profiles that are truly unmatched.

OPERATIONS: FlexCart, LLC (New Albany, OH)’s Hotel Engineering Cart is compact, lightweight and very maneuverable, and proven to substantially increase productivity, inventory control, and the overall professionalism of property operations. It includes removable tool bag with 84 tools in 42 labeled pockets, and can carry up to a 6’ ladder.

TABLETOP: VerTerra Dinnerware (New York, NY) offers new collapsible boxes, made from reclaimed balsa wood with a rice paper finish, and feature an innovative reflexive lid and pop-up design, allowing for everything to ship, store, and lay completely flat, saving space while still presenting food well.

TECHNOLOGY: Partender (San Francisco, CA) Bar Inventory & Ordering in 15 Minutes on iPhone, iPad reduces the time it takes owners and managers to do full bar inventory & ordering from 6 hours (or more) to just 15 minutes – all on iOS. While users take inventory of their virtual bars on Partender’s patent-pending system using any iOS device, they can view accounting and order reporting on the web or Excel.

Editors from leading hospitality trade publications reviewed over 120 submissions of the latest products for the industry, and selected winners based on innovative product design, how a product answers a particular industry need, creative use of material or construction, and development or use of a new technology.
Judges for the 19th annual IHMRS Editors’ Choice Awards were Kris Burnett, Hospitality Upgrade; Glenn Hasek, Green Lodging News; Beth Lorenzini, Foodservice Equipment Reports; Michelle Renn, Hotel-Online; and Christine Trauthwein, Hotel Business.

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Wine of the Week – Lady of Spain, Paul Cheneau Cava

This beautiful creamy, toasty sparkler comes from Giro Ribot, a preeminent producer in Spain where the family owned and operated winery is located in the Appellation d’Origine Penédes. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the South and by Montserrat to the north. The French influence is reflected in its classical style. Lady of Spain is a tribute to fashionable women who popularized cava at the turn of the 20th century. The wine is 45 percent Macabeo, 40 percent Xarel-lo and 15 percent Parellada and is 12 percent abv. Visit www.pasternakwine.com.

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The Spirit(s) World – LIQS Cocktail Shots

What are believed to be the first ever premium ready-to-drink “Cocktail Shots” are now available in MA and 29 other states thanks to Michael Glickman and Harley Bauer, who debuted the LIQS shot products in Florida last year after two years in development perfecting flavor profiles.
The goal was to combine convenience and portability of shots with quality. MA, they decided, was “an ideal place to expand the LIQS brand, with its strong demographic of young professionals.” Today,sophisticated drinkers are no longer satisfied with low-grade spirits and artificial ingredients, Bauer adds.
The shots come in four all-natural flavors:Tequila-Cinnamon-Orange made with 99% agave tequila infused with cinnamon and fresh orange (55 proof); Vodka-Cucumber-Lime, a six-time distilled vodka shot, 45 proof; Vodka-Komikaze, with fine citrus and a hint of natural vanilla, 45 proof; and Vodka-Lychee-Grapefruit, a pink mix of six-times distilled vodka, citrus of grapefruit and the sweetness of lychee. The shots range from 90 to 120 calories.
Made in the U.S., they are kosher and use recyclable plastic containers.
The shots come in single flavor three packs ($7.99) in liquor stores and are available for upscale lounges, clubs, hotel room mini-bars and through event planners and catering companies.

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Purifying alcohol with fat particles to introduce “Above Top Shelf”

A Wisconsin company, Capjem, a culinary science R&D firm, says it has achieved a way to purify alcohol using fat molecules. The result is a better tasting product with exceptional purity.
“Based on the premise of nucleophilic attraction, and by working with various fat molecules, the fat “washes” or cleans the liquor by removing impurities left behind by the distillation process. No matter how many times an alcohol is distilled, impurities remain, and those impurities can cause bitterness, burning, undesired flavors, and even hangovers,” a spokesman says.
The process can work on any liquor at any point in production, but it is said to be especially effective on pre-aged liquors. If the alcohol is washed prior to aging, the cleansed alcohol associates and interacts with the wooden barrel more effectively, allowing additional flavor extractions from the wood tannins.
To learn more about how this works, visit http://www.capjem.com/#!products/c1gxv

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Wine of the Week – Arca Nova Alvarinho 2011

This Colheita 2011 Arca Nova Alvarinho is made with one of Portugal’s most famous white varietals offers good acidity and notes of citrus and tropical fruits. Fresh and elegant, the well structured wine is 13 percent abv. Fernando Machado and Henrique Lopes, the winemakers, have won major awards for their offerings. Grapes are picked by hand and destemmed, then crushed to capture aromas before undergoing fermentation in stainless steel vats. Quinta das Arcas was founded in 1985. Serve this lovely white by the glass as an aperitif or with fish and seafood dishes. Visit http://www.quintadasarcas.com/en/producao.asp