This just in: The Butcher Boys are changing their costumes, aiming for the role of The Fishmonger Fellas. Well, kinda. Not really. Ehhh…a little bit.
To the innocent bystander, the focus of our business at PRB is providing Nashville with fresh, local, free-range and hormone-free meat that we know is excellent quality. And while that perspective is by no means incorrect, what many of our loyal customers know is that while meat may be the star of the show, we’ve cast a very talented chorus line that supports and adds value to our overall production.
In addition to meat, Porter Road Butcher offers prepared foods, soups, sandwiches, eggs, dairy, cheese, and various other grocery items that all have one thing in common: excellent quality. Meat is by no means the common denominator.
So does it seem so crazy that we want to give fish a supporting role in our show too? Does it seem weird that we want to widen our umbrella, now including the likes of meat-repellent-but-fish-friendly eaters to our shop (like Chris’s wife Kelly)? Does it really boggle anybody’s mind that although we spend our days surrounded by and entrenched in pork, beef, chicken, and lamb, that we might be interested in eating some sea-meat every now and again?
No, our salmon, halibut, and king crab are certainly not raised locally (that would be both frightening and disgusting) but the people at Virgin Bay Seafood Co. are doing right by their seafood.
In most supermarkets around the country, the salmon you’ll find is “trawl” caught, meaning a giant net is dragged alongside the boat, catching any and every type of marine species that lies in its path. The appropriate fish (like salmon) are then picked out of the net and put into a holding tank before they are brought to shore to be frozen whole, and then shipped to a processer, often times overseas. Between take-off for processing abroad and landing back in the US of A in your kitchen, that fish could have been frozen and thawed out 3 or more times already…leading to a very tired looking and “fishy” tasting fish.
Fortunately the same can’t be said about our new fish. Friends of PRB know that in order to join our cast of characters, you must have had a good life, been raised naturally, processed minimally, and arrive as fresh and wholesome as if you’d just stepped off the farm…or jumped out of the sea.
Virgin Bay responsibly catches their salmon mainly by “trolling,” which is hook-and-line fishing. When the fishermen catch a fish, it is individually brought onboard and immediately bled, gutted, and cooled on ice before bring brought to shore for processing, packaging, and blast-freezing—all here in North America! From there, the fish simply hop on a temperature-controlled bus and take a south-bound road trip to Country Music City, anxious to make their big debut and add some fishy flair to our Porter Road Butcher meat market.
So, although we can’t quite call the people at Virgin Bay “farmers,” (that would imply that they raise their seafood in a confined pen and specially feed them until they reach the appropriate size—not exactly our style), we’re thrilled to add them to our repertoire of farmers—or “protein providers.”
Display for the fish is still in the works, so be sure to ask one of our butchers about fish the next time you stop in. PRB fish may be experiencing a little stage fright right now, but before long, our fish will be front and center, ready to wow the crowd and steal the show.