The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), the Oregon seafood industry, and Oregon Sea Grant have launched the #EatOregonSeafood initiative to encourage Oregonians and Washingtonians to purchase and prepare Oregon seafood at home amid the pandemic. Due to restaurant closures worldwide amid COVID-19 and the resulting reduced commercial demand, Oregon’s seafood industry saw a sharp decrease in seafood sales between March and May. This is an opportunity to support regional fishing families and seafood processors and preserve the industry that delivers fresh, locally caught seafood that is celebrated in the Pacific Northwest.
#EatOregonSeafood is also recruiting a selection of the region’s top chefs, foodies, bloggers, and influencers to post recipes, photos, and cooking videos of their favorite seafood-themed dishes on social media. From June through August, those involved will share recipes and tips to make seafood at home this summer. Participating chefs will be announced in the coming weeks. This initiative also includes the other experts in preparing seafood at home—Oregon’s fishing families.
“We want to make it easier for people to buy and prepare the local, fresh seafood that we are so fortunate to have in Oregon,” said Nancy Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Oregon Albacore Commission and Oregon Salmon Commission. “Since many of us are still preparing most of our meals at home, it’s a good time to try a new recipe or type of seafood you may not have eaten in the past. Not only will it benefit our fishing community, but seafood has tremendous health benefits for people looking to eat nutritious and delicious food at home.”
There are several ways to buy seafood caught right off the coast of Oregon by hardworking fishing families. People can purchase seafood at their local supermarket, online with direct-to-consumer delivery options, and even right off the dock from the fishing boat and crew that caught it. Some companies are finding creative ways to get fresh seafood to Oregonians, such as Laura Anderson and her company, DockBox, which will deliver seafood meal kits to Portland, Eugene, and Corvallis pick-up locations. Along parts of the coast, they’ll even deliver right to your door.
To find fresh, local seafood in your area, consumers can use Oregon Sea Grant’s webpage called “Eat Oregon Seafood”: beav.es/EatOregonSeafood.
In addition to showing where to buy local seafood, the “Eat Oregon Seafood” webpage offers tips on when and what types of fish and seafood to purchase, how to freeze, smoke and prepare seafood at home, and has a selection of recipes for making various seafood-themed dishes, which will expand with the contributions of the #EatOregonSeafood campaign over the coming months.
“There is a common misperception that seafood is extremely difficult to make at home,” said Taunette Dixon, President of the Newport Fishermen’s Wives and co-owner of a fishing vessel. “But seafood and seafood dishes are actually easy and quick to prepare. It can seem intimidating at first, but once you try it, you’ll see it’s not all that complicated. In fact, seafood is my go-to for simple, healthy family meals and special occasions.”
Both Fitzpatrick and Dixon stressed that although different fisheries have seasons, buying fresh frozen seafood is possible in all seasons. They also pointed out one misconception about frozen seafood not being as fresh. OSU research has shown frozen seafood quality equals that of fresh, and some people even prefer frozen. Most Oregon seafood is frozen shortly after it is caught, making frozen a great way to get the fresh flavor of the Oregon coast wherever you are.
Oregon seafood is diverse and sustainably harvested. All of the fisheries in Oregon are carefully managed to maintain the abundance for today and future generations.
ODA in partnership with the Oregon seafood industry encourages people to make and prepare their dishes and post them to social media using #EatOregonSeafood. They can also use the hashtag to promote the national initiative, which is #EatSeafoodAmerica!
This initiative is a collaboration of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, Oregon Albacore Commission, Oregon Trawl Commission, Oregon Salmon Commission, Oregon State University Extension Service, Oregon Sea Grant, Positively Groundfish and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Source: Oregon Department of Agriculture