Spend any time talking with Elizabeth Moch of Island Seafood Market on Central and you will get the impression it’s a tightly-run ship. A crate of fish comes in and either Elizabeth or her partner, Linda inspect it. They don’t just open the box and close it again. They open the box, take out each fish and look at it carefully. The eyes must be clear, the gills must be red and the fish should not have a milky texture or ammonia odor. If they are satisfied with all the fish, they accept it. If even one fish doesn’t meet their standards, the entire box is rejected. That’s the way it’s done at Island Seafood.
Shellfish has even more controls in place to ensure freshness and safety. The USFDA requires tags on all batches of clams, scallops, oysters and mussels indicating where it was harvested, by whom and the date. Merchants are required to keep these tags on file for at least 90 days. Island Seafood holds on to them for much longer. Here’s what one of those tags might look like:
According to Linda, it takes more time to go through their very particular inspection process and the purveyor driver may have to wait several minutes. “Here are some of the things we do. It’s pretty simple but it requires a commitment to sticking to our expectations of quality and honesty,” she says.
Only use commercial fisherman caught product from licensed reputable purveyors.
Stay in constant contact with our sales reps checking on product and identifying where the product was caught.
Our product is delivered in refrigerated trucks and is inspected upon arrival for proper temperatures.
We physically inspect product for freshness – sight – smell – texture.
We label and sell product for exactly what it is. (fresh/frozen – local/domestic/imported)
We refuse any product that doesn’t meet our standards.
Even if it passes the our quality check list – If it doesn’t look right or smell right later, we immediately throw it out.
Follow Food Safety guidelines!
Keep tickets attached to clams and oyster bags until they are sold.
Keep clam and oyster tickets for at least the 90 day time line required.
While some of their seafood comes in from close off the coast, a portion of it (lobster, clams, mussels, oysters, cod, salmon etc.) is shipped in from other places.
Because of their extremely responsible approach, Linda from Island Seafood was selected as part of a 45-person envoy to travel to Washington, D.C. this week and discuss her ideas for testing and other controls on possible rogue purveyors to keep our seafood safe.
Island Seafood Market is not only a market, but has a full restaurant menu as well, serving beer and wine. You can take a look at the menu here (which includes crab cakes, the lobster roll, clams on the half-shell, Philly fishsteak sandwich, crab pita and more: www.islandseafoodmarket.com . Eat St. Pete previously wrote about their Lobster Roll a few months ago. That link can be found here: blog.elizabethdougherty.com/search.aspx?q=lobster%20roll&sc=tconcom&dt=a&al= .
Island Seafood is located at 2057 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. They are open Tuesday – Thursday 11:30am to 8pm, staying open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. They are closed Sunday and Monday. (727) 821-8181