Ok, maybe “fishing” is a stretch. I caught a fish THIIIIISSSSS BIIIIIG! Nooo, there were no nets; I had no lines; no waders and I did not step foot on a boat.
I did, however, have an idea. We live in beautiful Langley, British Columbia. Since I moved here with David 3 and a half years ago I’ve really tried to kickstart my “farm to table” way of purchasing and cooking food at home. We are in the heart of growing and animal raising country on the outskirts of Metro Vancouver. We have an abundance of home grown local food producers.
In our neighbourhood, which is fairly new, probably about 20 years, maybe a little bit more but still on the ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) but quickly changing over to medium density residential, you need only make two left turns from our townhouse, that’s 2 blocks and…SHEEP, HORSES, COWS, BLUEBERRIES AND MORE! YUM!
We are also right on the border of Historic Fort Langley. The birthplace of BC. A quaint but growing little village. Along with the historic trails for walking and cycling and nature loving, cute restaurants and craft breweries are popping up and enticing the youthful and aged to move on out of the big city of Vancouver for a more relaxed (but still refined) way of life.
Running through Fort Langley is the mighty Fraser River. Home to campgrounds just across the trail from the river, kayaking clubs and all manner of recreational activities, the river is the lifeblood of the salmon fishery in Langley. It is beautiful. Until I moved out here (only 30 minutes from my former home in bustling Metro Vancouver), I never really thought about it, never really cared to but my idea of home has now changed. IT IS BEAUTIFUL!
So, back to the “fishing” and home grown, farm to table stuff.
When I first moved to Langley, technically in a small suburb of Langley called Walnut Grove, (I know what you’re thinking but the Ingalls never lived here), I kept seeing handwritten signs on the roadsides advertising fresh caught salmon. I knew about the native fishery here and the commercial fishery but by the time I’d passed the signs, I’d forgotten the posted phone numbers and then the signs would be gone. Argh! No “RIVER to table” eating for us!
Fast forward 3 1/2 years. August 20, 2018. I see a sign for fresh salmon less than a block down our street. I circle back, park the car and jot down the phone number. Give it to David and he calls. Turns out, they (the actual fishing people) call you back, ask you how many fish you want and then put you on the list for the “next fishery”. They David back the next afternoon. Late, I mean just around six p.m. and say, “be on the dock at 8 and bring a cooler!
We’ve been under smoky skies in B.C. for weeks due to the forest fires around the province. You couldn’t get away the acrid smell that was everywhere, it was nasty but not as bad here in Langley as in the parts truly effected by the fires so we didn’t complain too much, how could we! But the sun, the setting sun. It was eerie but beautiful at the same time. It was under those skies that we found ourselves crossing the train tracks with our ice filled cooler in hand “going down to the river” to pick up our two (can we please have 3?!!!) sockeyes.
Turns out we weren’t the only ones looking for a fishy feast!
Now I really thought that we’d be picking our salmon off the back of an ice filled pick up truck. Not so. Right off the boat. It had just come in and David and I huddled around a small group of less than a dozen others with coolers in hand. It was all very quick. They confirmed how many we had ordered, checked us off the list and slipped our three big beautiful sockeyes into the bag, cash exchanged and we were off.
But not done. Oh yeah, they don’t clean em. They don’t scale em. Nope. We get to do that. Yay! David does the cleaning; I do the cooking!
Following our Farm/River to Table local homegrown sustainable eating ideal, we endeavored to use as much of the fish as we could. I think we nailed it!!
We saved all the bones, heads and bits and I cooked it all down to make a fish stock for our future fish chowders…12 cups of stock!!
Four filets for future use.
We used one whole fish for a Sunday family dinner for 6. Poached Sockeye with a Grapefruit Béarnaise Sauce.
We had so much leftover from the dinner, SOOOO: Penne with Salmon, Capers and an Herbed Crème Fraiche Sauce. Sorry, no pic.
Oh and then there were the Salmon Burgers and more in the freezer!
Almost forgot the Salmon Fish Tacos!! Again, no pic…too hungry to take photos!
I am so thrilled that we did this. I know people go fishing all the time but I don’t. I fully believe in the “Eat Local” philosophy but I haven’t put it into practice as much as I’d like. Working full time with a long daily commute really doesn’t make it easy to spend the time required to research and source the local products and the time involved in prepping fresh food. Now that I’m in the first few months of retirement, I feel so fortunate to have the time to embrace this passion. It won’t be full throttle right away but I know that, whenever I want, I can just “throw my line in the water” and go with the catch of the day.