fish work flow
October 25, 2008 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Can someone explain the processes of how fish gets from fishermen and producers in California (specifically the San Francisco bay area) to restaurants. Is there a central fish/wholesale market?

I live in Japan. The restaurant I work for buys all their fish from a central market every morning. We buy fish from small stores within the market, they buy their fish at auction every morning, the fishermen and producers are contracted with the market to display their goods at auction. You can walk through the market in the morning and see, at a glance, what is in season, what is fresh, what's cheap, etc. I would like to do a similar thing in the bay area. Buy fish that can be fished in California's waters, fresh or live, daily with the fewest middle men as possible. What is the fish work flow like?
posted by Infernarl to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know the answer for San Francisco, but at least for Los Angeles the workflow is similar to what you describe in Tokyo, from my limited understanding. LA has at least one wholesale only fish market in downtown, which my favourite sushi chef (and many others) go to each morning. They have fish from all over the world, not just California. I have no idea what the process is for fish to get to that market...

This link suggests that there is no central fish market in SF, and perhaps just several brokers?
posted by Joh at 10:54 PM on October 25, 2008

Oh, I miss Tsukiji. Wonderful place.

I don't think there's anything that expansive or interesting in the USA. A fish farm I know near San Diego, for example, sells its fish (for sushi, mainly) to a private wholesale market that is the rough equivalent of ONE of the independent sellers in Tsukiji... but they're not combined with a hundred others under one roof. In other words, it sounds similar to Joh's example from SF.
posted by rokusan at 5:12 AM on October 26, 2008

I asked a chef friend of mine this question and finally got an answer. Long story short: no fish market in San Francisco. Half Moon Bay has some fish coming in at the docks, but most fish in San Francisco arrives by air.

That's astonishing to me.
posted by Nelson at 1:00 PM on January 6, 2009

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