Epicureans in Wimbledon will be interested to hear that there’s a new way to buy super-fresh, sustainable fish, direct from fishermen, often less than 24 hours out of the sea.
Faircatch works a bit like a veg box scheme but with fish: members sign up online for a minimum of 4 weeks and collect fish on their chosen weekends from a variety of other local businesses like pubs, cafes and butchers – there are 10 collection points in total across south-west London which can be found here.
Members don’t choose which species they’ll receive (it’s whatever has been caught that day) and the aim is to encourage people to eat seasonally, a wider range of locally-caught species.
Supermarket fish can often be as much as 2 or even 3 weeks old, bypassing the traditional supply chain allows us to provide much fresher fish while paying fishermen a fair price for their catch.
We only buy fish from small day-boats which use environmentally-sound methods that do no damage to the marine environment, so we can enjoy it with a clear conscience too.
Because the fish is conveyed to London so quickly, there’s little time for any processing and it generally comes whole. However, all the flat fish such as plaice, brill, dover sole and turbot is gutted by the fishermen while still on the boat, so there’s minimal preparation needed if you’re cooking it on the bone, a method often praised by chefs for yielding more flavour.
Interestingly, our customers include a high proportion of Europeans from countries with a strong culinary seafood culture like France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, as well as people from Asia who make sashimi from the catch.
Faircatch is on a mission to get Brits trying new things (Octopus or smooth-hound anyone?) and persuade us that cooking fish isn’t as difficult as many people think. There are lots of recipes and videos on the website to help and will be offering fish preparation workshops in the autumn, where foodies can hone their gutting, skinning and filleting skills to perfection.