From Dock to Dish: A Seafood CSA

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Mallory Samson)

When Katie and Amanda of Amber Waves Farm were securing food for their end-of-year potluck, in celebration of a successful season at their farm, they knew the freshest fish they could find would be from Dock to Dish, a local seafood CSA based out of Long Island.

Captain Bruce Beck with docks F/V Allison and Lisa after a successful morning trip with his son and First Mate PJ. (Image credit: Mallory Samson)

What Is a Seafood CSA?

Dock to Dish is the “salt water brother of farm-to-table,” says Sean Barrett, company founder, fisherman and restaurateur. The model is based on the principal of getting the freshest, locally-caught fish to the table with as little steps as possible and as quickly as possible (dock to dish in 24 hours).

He works with 42 local commercial fishermen and shellfish harvesters who are based out of Montauk, New York; the very tip of the Long Island – including well-known Captains Bruce Beckwith and Anthony Sosinski. Once the boats come in, Sean and his crew select the ‘catch of the day’ and get it to the Dock to Dish members by the next day.

Pure crushed ice helps to keep the catch (Image credit: Mallory Samson)

It’s a seafood CSA – or better yet, a Community Supported Fishery (CSF) — and it works to the benefit of both. Dock to Dish pays a fair price for the catch, and members get the freshest fish possible. Members also get to try different varieties of seafood the waters off of Long Island support that they might never have tasted, including sea robin, skate, tilefish, tuna, striped bass, clams, mussels, oysters, just to name a few.

This year, Amber Waves – as well as other CSAs on the East End – offered Dock to Dish as a value added share to its members!

Dock to Dish co-founder Sean Barrett (Image credit: Mallory Samson)
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Captain Anthony Sosinski is a well-known Montauk fisherman who regularly supplies the Dock to Dish cooperative with the freshest fish, lobster and crab. (Image credit: Mallory Samson)

The Daily Catch

On the day I’m visiting Sean at the docks, he’s busy helping his crew off load a successful catch from the vessel ‘Allison and Lisa,’ captained by Bruce Beckwith with his First Mate and son, PJ.

The breeze leaves a film of salty sea brine on the dock. The slap and clang of the rigging is rhythmic and calming as birds circle high, waiting for an easy meal. Sean pulls out a rod-and-reel caught albacore tuna that is destined for the kitchen of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York – an original member of the Restaurant-supported fishery (RSF) side of the Dock to Dish program. The water rolls of its plump silver body, and you can almost taste the salty sweetness of its flesh.

Whole sushi-grade Montauk Fluke with a traditional dockside fillet blade and sharpener. (Image credit: Mallory Samson)

Processing the Catch

Meanwhile, the crew cleans and fillets sushi-grade Montauk Fluke, and this crew includes Deena Lippman, who leads the Dock to Dish processing team and is known to have some of the fastest fillet skills on the East End. In just hours, this fish will be plated and ready to be devoured.

When Katie and Amanda visited Sean on the docks to see what he would have for them for the party, he pulled out all the stops – providing whole striped bass that was caught on rod-and-reel off of Montauk Lighthouse and about 50 pounds of Atlantic Butterfish from Captain Bruce Beckwith.

Dock to Dish is an asset to the East End community and is mutually beneficial for buyers and fishermen. It’s reconnecting the public with their food source and helping to rebuild the deep ties that this area has to the sea.

A New Generation on the Farm is a season-long exploration of the work at Amber Waves Farm, and it is a partnership between The Kitchn, photographer Mallory Samson, and the Peconic Land Trust. Founded in 1983, the Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage. This is the first in a series about first generation farmers the Trust is working with to ensure that protected farmland is used for farming on Long Island’s East End.

Photographer: Mallory Samson

Mallory Samson is a storyteller who uses photographs. Mallory was a former Fashion Editor at J. Crew and Photography Editor at Nike. Mallory’s photographs have appeared in numerous magazines and she has authored two books featuring her photographs. Mallory has been a professional photographer for 17 years and lives in Southampton, New York.