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Amy & Goliath or Why Won’t the Seattle Times Print My Response?

Last week the Seattle Times ran a story called Breaching the Snake River dams could save salmon and orcas, but destroy livelihoods in which the challenges faced by the farmers on the East side of Washington State are shared. But somehow the reporter completely left out the challenges commercial fishermen on the coast, like me, face as result of the same dams. One sided reporting is an injustice to us all. So I wrote a response immediately and submitted it to the reporter, his editor and the Seattle Times general ‘letters’ email address. My response was turned down by the editor but it was suggested I edit my piece down to 200 words and resubmit it as a Letter to the Editor. I did that and guess what? No response in five days means ‘we aren’t printing that either.’

Interestingly enough, the Seattle Times did find an OpEd praising the four lower Snake River dams news worthy and that ran yesterday. There seems to be a trend here. And you know what? No where in my response did I call for dam removal or disparage farmers, in fact I praised them as the people who grow the vegetables that share the same plate as my salmon. What I did ask for is for funding in the soon to be voted on Washington State budget for a Stakeholders Forum as described in Recommendation 9 of the report from Governor Inslee’s Orca Task Force. This forum would bring farmers, fishermen and others together to talk about what we need to do our jobs and pay our bills. The Stakeholders Forum, as the Seattle Times would have you believe, is not a debate about keeping or removing dams and it is not another study and in no way does it duplicate the Federal NEPA process that is underway (a process that in my opinion doesn’t give a damn about my opinion.) The goal of the Stakeholders Forum is to bring people together to talk with each other rather than having reporters sensationalize our real life challenges of paying the bills and working in conditions where you have no control of what Mother Nature will give you one day to the next.  Here is my response that didn’t get printed. Please share it so it gets read even if it wasn’t deemed Seattle Times worthy:

Ron Judd’s story published on March 21st in the Seattle Timed serves to perpetuate the trend of pitting farmers on the Eastside of Washington State against the fishermen on the West coast. We are better than that. Farmers and fishermen both recognize that we face similar challenges as small scale family businesses that produce food. As such, margins are often slim but the pride in our work that feeds people keeps us on the job.

In response to Mr. Judd I say this – There are people on the coast, whole communities, that depend on the jobs that salmon bring to their towns. Just as it is suggested that folks from Seattle go visit the Tri-Cities, people from the Tri-Cities should make their way out to Ilwaco, Westport or Forks.

Visit the Washington coast and what you’ll find are people trying to make a living in a remote location that once boasted many thousands of jobs in timber as well as seafood. With lumber towns a shadow of their former productivity it’s fishing that has been supplying income for families with generations of history in this region. As we annually see the number of salmon that can be harvested dwindle, there is not another industry that fishermen can turn to for income.  And it’s not just the commercial fishermen who will be out of work should salmon fail to return. Recreational fishing drives coastal tourism; it’s the other industry that relies on salmon. No more salmon means no reason for tourists to come the coast for a day or weekend of fishing. These tourists won’t spend money at restaurants, stay in hotels, purchase picnic supplies at the grocery store, fill their cars up at the gas station, buy the items forgotten at home or support a local artisan selling memories of a day at the coast.

If asked, the other thing that farmers and fishermen would agree on is that one does not want to see the other fail because once those jobs are gone they seldom come back. Just look at any of the small towns – east or west – with empty store fronts, sagging piers or falling down barns. This should not be a winners and losers scenario. This is why the stakeholder forum recommended by the Governor’s Orca Task Force makes sense. No one has asked the people who stand to lose so much what we need and how much we can give or what it will really take to keep us all working and the bills paid.

Change is inevitable but what can we do to be prepared and take advantage of it as an opportunity to grow rather than maintain a status quo at someone else’s expense? A well planned forum that brings stakeholders from both sides of the state would prepare the residents for whatever may come down to us from the federal powers that will determine the fate of the four lower Snake River dams. Folks in DC who have never visited our state will vote one way or the other but the residents of Washington can make the call on how we respond to that decision. Will we be prepared with a plan or scrambling to get our footing? Fishermen prepare before they go to sea because they need to be ready for whatever nature throws at them. I suspect that farmers also have a back up plan. With or without dams this is one storm we should figure out how to weather together.

Fishing the Fairweather Grounds

We are regularly in seas that are 10 to 15 feet tall. We catch fish while rain is blown sideways by winds that try to push our hull off course and me off my feet. We crash, we bash, but thankfully we also float. My hands were once so cold it was a near frostbite situation. Since then, they get cold quickly and with the cold come pins and needles that spike my fingertips and move upward to my palms. This happens a few times a day, as I am responsible for packing our fish below decks in the fish hold that is filled with ice. When dusk comes we are 70 or more mile off shore so we hove to, tie off the ship’s wheel hard to the port, let the weather take us on its own ride while we sleep in our forepeak bunks, the strobe light on our mast alerting other drifters to our location. And then comes the numbness that wakes me from my sleep. While my body works through the sore souvenirs of fishing, it is my hands that are in pain.

But I love fishing, I love being on the boat and beating challenges offered by the basic steps of living. Things that on land are done with out a thought – getting out of bed and dressed without falling not just down but over or backward or any way the boat decides to pitch me. Filling a cup with water while braced at the galley sink or even more challenging hot water in to a mug for tea or over the grounds in a cone for coffee. Yes, we have been ‘doing’ pour over coffee for decades – literally – long before it was hip. Have you ever peed while bracing yourself at a 45-degree angle? And all this happens in the time it takes to get ready for work, for the day of fishing.


Once out on deck we are greeted by the new day. Often the weather is the same or worse than what we slept through. But, too, come the days when we work bathed in sunlight, a gentle breeze caressing my cheek while I work, the same side of my face that was the day before slapped and pelted with rain. Gone is the bashing and this morning the boat is slicing through glassy water much like a skater effortlessly carves the slick ice they glide over. The Fairweather Range that was hidden yesterday is watching us today. A tendril of hair falls forward and tickles my nose. A smile pulls at the corners of my mouth. I look up as Greg lands a flash of light on deck. The first salmon of the day is caught and another day of fishing begins.

Living on a boat – its personal

Living on a boat – its personal. You get good at being alone in your head as you live cheek to jowl with two other people in a 40 ‘ x 12’ space, a space that is even smaller than it sounds. In this space you are together yet alone like never before. Consider it a subway ride that takes 85 to 100 days until you reach your destination. You sit next to a stranger, careful not to make eye contact in the confined space because that would mean you need to acknowledge the person on the other end of your gaze. Maybe even have to talk to them. To avoid this you bury you nose in the thick walls of the book you are currently engrossed in or are at least pretending to be. You feign sleep in your bunk when crew mates fail in their loud efforts to be quiet as they climb down into the forepeak. Upon waking for your watch you crawl up the ladder from that same forepeak. Emerging in the wheelhouse you nod and grunt at the person at the wheel who is eagerly awaiting you to relieve them. You hope the person coming off watch will actually leave the wheelhouse but you never know, so you stagger to the head both out of necessity and to seek few more moments of alone time before going on watch.


On a fishing boat forget any thoughts of privacy, except when you are in the head that was just mentioned. Even then someone is only a few feet away on the other side of a door that doesn’t offer as much privacy as you might hope. We are all reminded of just how human we are in these times. Your crewmates will be the other people who see you as you thought only your chosen life mate would. There you are in your underwear as you rise out of the bunk after a night of snoring – your husband says you do and now your deckhand knows this, too. With your head hanging over the rail puking up your latest attempt to keep ramen down as you pass through the three to five days it take you to get your sea legs. Singing like you are alone in the car while you clean fish a few feet away from the deckhand in the trolling pit. You are not one of those people who easily belts out tunes in front of a crowd and when you realize just how loudly you were singing you cringe a bit and keep singing but now under your breath. It’s what gets you through and you enjoy it despite the fact that probably no one else does. And on late night wheel watch, as you are jumping around to bad disco or anything loud to wake yourself up, the deckhand pops up out of the forepeak because he can’t sleep. Great. Embarrassed at being busted while shaking it down and still tired, now you need to act alert while sitting still in the captain’s chair and making conversation during what was supposed to be time alone time at the wheel.


But this goes both ways. Not only have your crewmates seen you as your most vulnerable and sometime worst, sometimes goofy self, you, too, have seen them. It’s a mutual pact of look the other way when you walk out on deck to find someone peeing and an unspoken agreement that songs that are sung unconsciously are a pact of trust without judgment regardless of how off-key the notes. You didn’t commit your life to them but you did commit a season. We’re in this together and up-close and personal.

A Christmas Tree Tale

This story was written and sent out to family as our 2015 Christmas Card. I guess it is a Christmas card to Fish=Food readers, too! 

Greg and I went on a Christmas Tree Expedition two weekends ago. When we are not fishing Greg works at the Port Townsend Shipwrights Coop. If he can’t be running a fishing boat, his second favorite thing to do is repair them. Each year the PT Shipwrights Coop picks a Saturday before Christmas to head for the hills and they invite any and all to come along. Mostly, it is Coop members and their families but other friends, many of them fishermen, often come along in search of a Christmas tree. We have been making this tree trip for at least 12 years now.

Tree Hunt 2015

Before heading up in to the Olympic National Forest to cut trees, we all meet in the morning at the Quilcene Forest Ranger Station, just 45 minutes from Port Townsend. To cut a tree legally you need to purchase a $5 permit from the ranger on duty. The permit comes with a zip tie so once the tree is down you can attach your permit tag to it. This year it was pouring down rain when we met at the ranger station but we were on a mission to slay trees so up we went into the forest, twelve cars and trucks in a row. Some years there are many more cars but the rain put off the less hearty.

The road we take into the Olympic National Forest was originally a logging road. Down low it is paved but as the road snakes up into hills that become mountains, it turns to a dirt track. At 1300 feet/396 meters the rain turned to sleet. By 1400’/427m the sleet was snow! A friend in a truck pulled over and flagged Greg and me down to ask if we wanted to jump in his truck for the rest of the drive up hill? We could pick the car up on the way down, he said. I had confidence in the VW and said, “No, we’ll be fine” and we flew by into the snowy forest. I’m from Maine and this was just a dusting of fluff.

As we climbed higher the snow was starting to pile up on the road and cover the trees all around us. Everyone had trucks, SUVs and four wheel drive cars, that is except for us in the mighty, mighty Jetta wagon. The people in the front of the line had fresh snow to drive on so they had great traction as the snow got deeper. But we were near the end of the line of cars and the snow had been packed down and slicked over by those who went before us. The road ahead of us was getting steeper and now the gentle curves were turning into sharp switchbacks. I had driven this road with ease in the VW multiple times in summer to access the Mount Townsend hiking trail but in the snow it seemed to be another place. Greg was looking a bit skeptical about my decision to proceed in the VW. I just looked at him and said, “don’t stop, honey, just keep going as long as you can!” If we stopped I feared that we wouldn’t have traction enough to get going again.

We passed through an open area where the road was wide enough to turn around. Greg suggested we park and hitch a ride the rest of the way up. I was in the ‘just keep driving, don’t stop’ mode so I cheered him on and said, “we can do it!’ as I patted the dash of the car. As it would happen, we couldn’t. Shortly after my confident declaration, the wheels started spinning as they looked for traction and the car slid sideways in slow motion toward the steep drop off to the right. It was a bit heart stopping and I grabbed for the dash again but not to pat it.

We got out of the car and went ‘hmmm.’ Luckily there was a car following us. MB and Peter piled out to check out the situation while their two little boys stayed in the car. Behind us down the road we could hear the rumble of something big and driven by diesel. We were relieved as we recognized the red truck coming at us to be that of our friend Gus who runs a tow company! Yup, just like Gus, he smiled, waved and threw snow all over us as he blasted by us and up the hill. Hmmm, again.

While Greg drove the car MB, Peter and I pushed and up the hill Greg went without me. We had decided that if Greg could get going, he should just keep rolling and I would jump in with MB & Peter. We piled in their Subaru – four wheel drive with snow chains on the tires, of course – and followed along behind.

MB, Peter and I were feeling pretty good about our pushing strength until we came around the corner and saw a very steep hill ahead of us with one black VW Jetta wagon stuck in the middle. Again, we piled out of the Subaru to see what could be done. The road was wide at this point so this time we pushed the Jetta to the side of the road, not up it. MB & Peter decided they would drive by us and see how far it was to the mountain pass where the others had parked. Greg and I were to wait in the VW while they scouted out the rest of the road. If it was close, they would walk back to get us. If it was far, they would drive back to pick us up. It seemed Jetta would miss the tree hunt but we would get to participate.

Greg and I sat in the car with the heat on, pleased that we had filled up the tank before we left but sheepish that we had not thought to buy snow chains for the car. We live in the land of rain, for gods sake, not snow! At least there was a good radio show on for us to listen to while we waited. The snow was really coming down now and the wind was blowing good. With all the snow swirling around us I felt like we were in a snow globe that had been vigorously shaken up, that is, if there exists is a snow globe featuring a stuck black Jetta as it’s holiday scene.

After a bit we saw four figures coming down the hill but we couldn’t make out whom they were though the thick falling snow. As they drew closer we could see that it wasn’t MB & Peter but four of the other shipwrights. Fresh Horses! We were less than a quarter of a mile from the pass where the others had gathered. As the four Horses and I pushed the wheels spun and suddenly the tires grabbed the road and off Greg went again to be lost behind a curtain of blizzard like snow and the turn in the road ahead of us.

Tree Hunt Pallet Fire 2015

The Horses and I tromped up the hill to the pass and with relief saw a Jetta parked, not stuck, beside all the cars, trucks and SUVs of others who had made a better choice as to what set of wheels they would take on the tree slaying expedition. The Horses asked why a girl from Maine let a South African drive in the snow? They had never seen Greg’s road rally style driving in a South African game park on a treacherous, pothole filled road – a washed out, mud slick course at best. As we grew closer to the top, we could hear the roar of a good old fashioned pallet fire and muffled voices of people clad in thick coats and boots, disguised by hats and scarves. Back in the day, there was a lot sipping from flasks and tipping back of beers around the fire. Now most of the crew have families so there is more hot coco and cider consumed. Well, there were a few flasks making the circuit around the fire but not with the vigor and speed of the B.C. days – before children!

In addition to children, a tailgate lunch is also new to the event as mothers know children need food to keep them from whining. Greg uses this very same food tactic to keep me happy so he made sure to bring me a big bowl of chili. The other wives thought he was being so thoughtful, why didn’t their men do this for them? But I know it was just selfdefense on Greg’s part. Clever man!

Kids were making snow angels, careening down the road on sleds and the snow kept on falling. How much so far? I poked my gloved hand into the snow to find it halfway up my forearm. This was a proper snowstorm! The surprise in the weather was exciting as I dearly miss snow but in the back of my mind I was wondering if Jetta would be stuck on the pass until the spring thaw.

After libations, big stories and bowls of chili people headed out in all directions of the compass to find the perfect tree. We found a lopsided little tree with lots of character, chopped it down and brought it home. By now the snow was drifting but I am quite sure there was a foot on the ground when we loaded up the tree for the drive home. The trip down the mountain was without event as momentum was on our side and we were at the front of the line of cars, able to find fresh snow that offered traction.

Christmas Tree Expedition 2015 ended up being pretty darn wonderful! Well, that about sums up the day, except to add, festooned with lights and glitter the little tree looks quite festive.  That’s our dog Georgie snoozing under the tree. Oh, and if you are curious, here is a link to the website for the Olympic National Forest:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!! Love and salmon, Amy

Xmas Tree 2015

Duna Chowder of July 2014: a story & a recipe

To quote Caven on F/V Sword, the Southeast Alaska chinook opening in July of 2014 was epic. Fishermen who had been trolling for salmon in Alaska for 50 years said that the opening we just completed was the best one of their careers, one for the books. We were lucky to be there and lucky to be on the fish. It doesn’t always happen that way. We weren’t on the fish in 2015 but that is another story for another post…back to July 2014.

After bucking and bashing into the weather for 17 hours while coming in from the Fairweather Grounds, we found ourselves rafted up to the dock three boats deep in the tiny, remote village of Elfin Cove, Alaska. You can only reach Elfin Cove by floatplane or boat. Steep mountains rise up on all sides of the harbor. The homes and other buildings of Elfin Cove are pressed up against the base of the mountains. There are no roads in the village, only boardwalks that ring the harbor and connect the village’s buildings to the docks.

Red Chinook on left and Marbled Chinook on right at the Makah Tribe and Coastal Trollers Association 10th Annual Washington Troll Salmon Lunch at Lark. Photo by Marcus Donner © 2013We were all exhausted and beaten from the ‘epic’ fishing and intense weather that found the fleet on the last day of the July chinook opening. Once in port, it rained sideways and blew for three days but no one cared. Everyone was secure at the dock and sleep in copious amounts was the only thing anyone craved.

Once sleep depraved captains and crews were rested it was time to celebrate a successful start of the summer troll season in Alaska. Sharing a meal with others during fishing season is a rare treat as we are often, quite literally, ships that pass in the night. A pot of fish chowder was made to feed the crews from five fishing boats who were gathered on the back deck of Duna, under the awning and out of the rain. We made the chowder, they brought the beer.

IMG_4437We often eat chowder and fish soups on the boat. A hot bowl of soup warms your hands as you hold it, fills your belly and can be eaten when you have time. I don’t usually write down recipes as what I have on board to cook with is what goes into dinner. You improvise a lot of the time. That day in Elfin Cove Megan from F/V Island Star asked me to teach her how to make chowder so we actually measured and recorded all the ingredients as they were added to the pot. The resulting recipe is below.

It’s now October of 2015, a year and some months from when Megan and I made the Duna Chowder in Elfin Cove. We recently had chowder at our house in Port Townsend with our friends from F/V Caribou – Joe, April and their boy Ocean. The Caribous, as we call them, were there for the original Duna chowder. As we sat around the kitchen table, far away from the roll of the sea, memories and stories floated up from our steamy bowls with each spoonful of chowder. We are lucky that so many from our Alaska fishing community are home-ported in Washington and can gather with us while we are land locked in the off seasons from fishing.

Duna Chowder, the recipe that fed the crews from 5 fishing boats or 12 hungry people:

½ cup bacon, chopped

3 ½ cups onion, diced

1 ¾ cups celery, diced

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

4 bay leaves

2 teaspoon dill & thyme, dry is fine

2 cups carrots, cut into ½ inch pieces

3 – 4 quarts fish stock

3 – 4 cups red skin potatoes or other thin skin spud, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 can corn, drained

1 pint heavy cream or 2 cans evaporated milk

3 – 4 pounds salmon, skinned and cut into 1” cubes

¼ cup dried wakame, optional

Salt and Pepper to taste

A few notes before you start:

  • The recipe calls for salmon but you can use halibut, cod, or rockfish
  • If you don’t have fish stock a quick substitute can be made by combining 1 tablespoon of Vietnamese fish sauce for each cup of water.
  • For thicker chowder, make a flour or corn starch slurry and stir in after adding the milk. Thicken to your preference.
  • Dried wakame (a type of seaweed) adds a nice dose of umami to the chowder. I crush the dried wakame a bit before adding it so the rehydrated pieces are smaller.
  • You can make this chowder a day ahead of time if you wish. Stop just before you add the fish then cool and refrigerate the chowder. One hour before you wish to serve the chowder, gently heat it back up to a steamy simmer and add the fish raw fish and seaweed. Follow the recipe from that point onwards.

In a large stockpot, sauté the bacon until the fat is rendered but the meat is not too crispy.

Add the onion & celery to the bacon, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Sauté until the vegetables are just soft, about 5 minutes.

Add spices, stirring occasionally until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.

Now add the carrots and stock, cooking until carrots soften slightly. Scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any bacon or vegetable bits.

Next add spuds, corn and cream or evaporated milk. Simmer until the spuds are just slightly soft. Remember to stir so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

Now is the time to add a slurry of thickener if you plan to use it. Stir until broth thickens. Add more or less slurry to thicken the broth to your liking.

Once the broth is steaming hot but not boiling add fish and dried wakame. Stir once so all the fish submerged and wakami is evenly distributed throughout the chowder. Simmer until fish is just cooked. Stir occasionally.

Remember the fish will continue to cook in hot broth once the pot is off the stove. Be careful not to over cook the fish or it will get tough.

That’s it! Serve with lots of bread or crackers, cold beer and call it dinner.

Martin Walks On, 1936 -2015

Martin Friedrichs 1936 - 2015Sadly, my husband Greg’s dad Martin passed in his sleep last Saturday night after battling cancer for the last ten months. We are all relieved that it was a peaceful wrap on a fully lived life. On Friday, when Greg and I heard that it was getting close, we secured our fishing boat Duna in a slip and flew out of Sitka to Seattle. Greg then headed to South Africa to be with his mom and sisters. My role was to return to Port Townsend for a few weeks on standby for whatever needed doing. I am so glad Greg flew to South Africa as with his family is where he should be right now, him supporting them and them supporting him. All will be fine with time and the Friedrichs clan knows the value and healing power of laughter through tears.

We are playing it by ear on our return to Alaska and fishing. In theory, we hope to be on the water again by July 15th but will see how it all goes in South Africa. If need be Greg will stay on longer to help his family. That is the good thing about running your own business, the flexibility when you need it.

My goofy old hound dog is beside himself with joy that he has me back to cater to his need for scratches and walks in the woods and field. The gardens are also breathing a sigh of relief for my return, as it has been hot and dry here in the Pacific Northwest. The grass is good and brown and that is how it will stay. No water for the lawn as I hate mowing that damn grass!

It is full blown summer in Port Townsend. In spite of and maybe because of the heat, the raspberries in my backyard and wild blackberries in the fields are ripe and adding up in our freezer. The berries joined 20 pounds of sweet, red cherries – pitted, frozen on sheet pans and transferred to containers – stacked in the deep freeze earlier in June. Blueberries are sure to be early due to the summery blast so soon it will be a trip to Finnriver Farm and Cidery in Chimacum for U-pick. Unlike the wild blackberries that are found low in the grass on thorny canes that stitch exposed limbs with a mesh of red welts, the task of picking high bush blueberries is painless work. For now, off the boat and out of Alaska, my focus has shifted from producing seafood to putting up landfood.

Martin & Greg at the Braai, Christmas 2013

Martin and Greg checking the Braai, South Africa, Christmas 2013

Part of me feels badly to be in the middle of all this summer with bounty and bloom, the smell of fresh hay everywhere and doors of the house propped wide open for breezes while Greg is taking his last journey with his father. My friend and dog sitter Josh wisely said, “You can feel bad about enjoying your sudden summertime at home but it won’t do him or you any good.” He is right. So I am collecting summer to share with Greg when he gets back – berries in the freezer, pictures from the woodsy walks and writing him quick messages that hopefully steal him away from the sadness for a few seconds when he reads them.

We have a good life and it was a good life that Martin Friedrichs shared with his family and friends. And it’s a good life I get to share with all of you. Thank you for being there as my family and friends.

2015 Washington Chinook salmon fishing opened May 1st – Where to buy the fish?

As sure as any harbinger of spring the return of Chinook salmon to our coastal waters signals we are on our way to warmer weather and longer days. Friday, May 1st marked the opening of the 2015 Washington commercial troll fishery for Chinook. The fishing boats are on the water and soon will be returning to the dock with silver backed salmon securely tucked into icy fish holds. So begins the 2015 fishing season and the availability of fresh, local wild Chinook.

If you are a chef or just love fresh caught Chinook you must be anticipating the chance to get your first taste of this year’s Washington hook and line caught salmon. What better seafood can you think of to accompany the tender shoots of landfood that are showing up in your kitchen? Briny and sweet, rich yet mild, Washington troll caught Chinook will shine when it shares the spotlight with the springtime bounty of produce.


You can feel good about eating Washington troll caught Chinook. Here are three reasons:

  1. Trolling, also know as hook and line fishing, is widely recognized as one of the most sustainable ways to catch fish.
  2. Washington Chinook are caught less than 200 miles from Seattle and never get on a plane so these fish have a smaller carbon footprint.
  3. Buying locally caught Chinook supports Washington’s fishing families and businesses. Keeping it local never tasted so good.


You may be thinking, “Where can I buy the fish?” Here is a list of fishermen and seafood distributors who will be able to supply your restaurant or market with fresh troll caught Washington Chinook. When you order, make sure to ask your fishmonger what color Chinook is available. Whether red, white or marbled all Washington Chinook are delicious and add local flavor to your menu or seafood counter selection.

Businesses marked with an asterisk are owned by fishermen who sell their own catch.

Cape Flattery Fishermen’s Coop

Joseph Lawrence, Manager

(360) 645-2231

Notes: Wholesale and seafood buyer

Corfini Gourmet

Bernado Jimenez

(206) 310-8386

Fishing Vessel Barcarole*

Jeremy Brown

(360) 201 2487

Notes: SMS preferred contact method, in season, by appointment. Delivering direct to select restaurants and seafood markets in North Sound area.

Fishing Vessel Donna Sea*

Mike Hitchcock (360) 269-7811 or

Kayla Gore (360) 878-7326

Notes: Wholesale in Lewis County and western Washington; retail off boat and Lewis County via Facebook/public media

Fishing Vessel Karen L*

Nicole Curry

(360) 305 1022

Notes: SMS preferred contact method, in season, by appointment. Delivering direct to select restaurants and seafood markets in North Sound area

Flying Fish Company, LLC

Lyf Gildersleeve

(503) 260-6552

Notes: Serving Portland, OR; retail and wholesale

Harvester’s Catch*

Jeff Pedersen


Notes: Serving Washington and Oregon; wholesale to restaurants & markets; and retail to the public at Farmers Markets and off the boat

James Island Fish*

Steve Wilson

(253) 732-4617

Notes: Wholesale & retail sales on Olympic Peninsula, in Seattle area & South Sound

Jessie’s Ilwaco Fish Co.

Pierre Marchand

(360) 642-3773

Notes: Serving Washington, Oregon & the World. Wholesale to stores, restaurants & distributors; retail markets in South Bend & Ilwaco

The Jones Family Farms

Ivan Brown

(360) 468-0533

Notes: Serving San Juan Islands, Skagit, Bellingham and Seattle; wholesale & retail

Kelly’s Fresh Fish*

Tom (t.k.) Kelly

(206) 914-1342

Notes: Seattle & into Tacoma, wholesale to restaurants and markets; retail sales to general public. Delivery arranged weekly

Kona Pacific Seafoods*

Tasha Parker

(253) 380-7255 or (260) 291-8068 or

Notes: Serving Seattle area, wholesale restaurants and markets, whole fish only

Mikuni Wild Harvest

Jeff Griffiths


Notes: National service, wholesale & buyer

Mikuni Wild Harvest

Kevin Mock


Notes: Servicing entire USA, wholesale

Olympic Seafoods, LLC

Eydfinn Tausen, Owner

(425) 337-9105 c.

(425) 491-7425 f.

Notes: Serving Seattle, Pacific Northwest & national markets, wholesale only

Wild Salmon Seafood Market

Jon Speltz, Owner

206) 283-3366

Notes: Wild Salmon Seafood Market retail store has a sizable wholesale business. Delivery to Queen Anne, Magnolia and Ballard restaurants, always available for will call. FedEx shipping around the country.

Wild West

Preston Onkst


Notes: Wholesale on Olympic Peninsula, Kitsap & Seattle; retail to public at Port Angeles Farmers Market

Wilson Fish Markets*

Jan & Gene Panida

(253) 722-7100

Notes: Selling at 8+ Farmers Markets including Ballard, Edmonds, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Puyallup, Tacoma and Proctor

(Photo of Washington Chinook at Lark in Seattle courtesy of Marcus Donner

My life as a Tree

My husband’s father is reaching the end of his run and it has offered us a whole different way in which to consider living in this world. My partner is quietly processing this next stage of life while I stand by, not so quiet, ready if needed with food; coffee or gin; a shoulder or embrace. The process must be with me even as I sleep because I woke this morning needing to write immediately. Here is what came of it.

This morning I woke with a strange yet pleasing thought: when I die plant a tree not a headstone. My tree would offer a most pleasant place for you to come visit me. That tree and me will be one. My limbs will be stretched out in greeting as you approach. Lift your children up into my arms for a hug and I’ll give you a break from minding them. Children always love a view from above. Think of the time your favorite adult swung you up on to their shoulders, you breathless with the new-found height and a view wider than the people below you.

We’ll share a picnic in the shade. I always have loved to have people over for dinner. If it is spring we’ll admire the blossoms my branches have produced just as we used to walk the edges of my garden at home to see what was growing. If it is fall, pick an apple. It’s what I brought for dessert. Still a good cook! And if it rains, not to worry, my sheltering arms are still there to take you in from the weather.

Maybe another will choose a tree not a stone for their memorial? If they plant their tree next to mine we’ll stand together, enjoying the changing seasons. Eventually we’ll grow so tall and strong, our spreading limbs linked as arms, hand in hand. In our companionship we’ll take a stand for fresh air, exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen. We’ll create essential habitat for things that crawl, climb and fly.

Plant me by a stream and I’ll shade the riffles and pools that wild salmon seek to spawn their young. They need cool water to be successful in their life’s work of creating the next generation. And I’ll get to see the salmon every year when they return much the same as when I went to sea each year to catch them. How right I should become a tree as my fishing boat is made of wood.

As a fisherman salmon is a constant on my dinner table. In my life as a tree those salmon will still nourish me in their death. My roots will absorb the nutrition they selflessly share. The powerful stuff will travel upward though my trunk to the greenness of leaves rather than the top down human system of feeding, mouth to body. Salmon will still be my favorite food. When I pass plant a tree so that even in death I can choose life. Join me and we’ll become a forest.

Diesel Perfume

If you have never worked on a fishing boat you may find it odd but there is nothing more comforting than the faint smell of diesel. I was reminded of this as I swung back the door and stepped into the wheelhouse of tugboat Newt, scented strongly by fir with a hint of diesel. It was February and I had just suffered another of the east to west coast returns that punctuate the work I do in the off season to support my commercial fishing habit. The day was tormented by delayed flights, missed connections and the realization that I would not get to Seattle in time to make the last ferry to Port Townsend and home. A call made from Newark, New Jersey secured me a bunk on a 70-foot wooden tugboat in Seattle for the night. Well past midnight came the relief of unfurling the sleeping bag that is always on standby in the back of my car in a warm west coast wheelhouse, floating instead of flying.

The smell of a diesel powered wooden boat is something you cannot shake once you have stepped foot on one. Its warm breath permeates your nose, clothes and memory. The combination of wood and diesel is a different perfume. This is not the smell of diesel vapor that rises from a deck fitting as you nervously fill the boat’s tank at Petro Marine. Not the acrid scent that creeps closer to your nose while you eyeball the level of the tank through the crescent space left between the nozzle of the hose and the wall of the fuel fill fitting. You tune your ear to the sound of free flowing fuel that will change to gurgling foam threatening to gush on to the deck just before the tank is full. The sound of free flow is trance inducing and like a genie from a bottle random thoughts waft up on the vapors, lulling you to another place until you jerk back to the present for fear of over flow. Nor is it the smell left on your hands after you pick up the fuel spattered diaper once the danger of over flow has been narrowly averted by your trigger finger quick reaction to the slightly hollow sound that lies between free flow and the gurgle of full. Another trip to the fuel dock completed without a rainbow sheen of shame surrounding your boat like a slipped halo.

And it’s not the hot smell of steel, leaked oil and diesel exhaust that hits you as the engine room door slides back on its pocket track.  That wall of air is just as thick as the door you just opened. Stepping into it is done gingerly while eyes quickly assess belts, gages, Racor filters and shaft for anything loose, leaky or not dripping enough. Back out of that room respectfully as it has been said to you, “Never turn your back on a moving engine.” Close the door on the raucous din of another event free engine room check. Seal in the good fortune of this place specific stink that keeps parts turning freely and water gliding by your hull. Feel lucky as you skip up the ladder for the hard working smell you just left has been known to cause some bellies to boil if the sea is thrashing and your boat is bucking through rather than riding with the waves.

The comfort scent I am recalling is salty and slightly sweet, a combination of past trips, cedar planks and the sweat of hard work. It is a lingering smell that for those of you who do not know could be best described as pipe tobacco when it is sparked but not fully lit, the sulfur from the match and the resulting smoke rounding out the leathery bouquet. It is a smell that for days on end scents your waking hours, tea breaks and dreamless sleeps when the deck work has battered you just enough to hurt but not break you. It greets you as eyes flutter to the sound of the 671 alarm clock or maybe yours is a Deere John. In any case, your good skipper has the coffee on, it’s own aroma a consolation prize for the push out of your down filled nest as you fledge for another day of fishing. Diesel perfume is a smell you eventually wash from your clothes after a few weeks back on land when season is done but one that never leaves you. It will summon all of Alaska back to the surface when on a dark night it unexpectedly greets you at the wheelhouse door in Seattle.