Summer and seafood go hand in hand. However, getting your fix at your favorite local restaurant or during a trip to Nantucket may not be as feasible this season. The good news: You can still indulge in the freshest ocean delicacies, but from the comfort of your home.
Several of the nation’s premier seafood distributors have shifted their business models to stay afloat. Prior to the pandemic, operations consisted mainly of supplying high-end restaurants with daily catches. Now, wholesalers are offering their bounty to the public through pickup and home delivery—and navigating these waters for the first time ever.
“While Covid-19 has presented us with challenges we never thought we would encounter, it forced us to step outside of our comfort zone in order to survive,” says Nobu Yamanashi of Yama Seafood. “When restaurant business normalizes and the threat of the pandemic has passed, we have already made the decision that we will continue to offer home delivery as part of our core business.”
You can reap the benefits of the new direct-to-consumer initiatives while supporting independent businesses and fisherman during these unprecedented times. So treat yourself to sushi-grade fillets and succulent shellfish from eight of the country’s standout seafood purveyors.
Since 1895, this company has been growing exceptional shellfish in the pristine waters of Virginia’s Eastern Shore—with a strong focus on sustainable farming and harvesting practices. Formerly selling to wholesale distributors and restaurants, Cherrystone-Aqua Farms overhauled their website—figuring out shipping and packaging logistics along the way—to shift to a direct-to-consumer model. Now, the company overnights premium clams and a wide variety of oysters to doorsteps nationwide.
True World Foods
For the first-time ever, this massive wholesale seafood and Asian food distributor—that supplies 80% of high-end and mid-range sushi restaurants in the U.S. and Canada—is delivering directly to consumers in New York and New Jersey. “We have been the number one supplier to North American sushi restaurants for more than 45 years, but we have never sold direct to consumers in the past,” said Robert Bleu, president of True World Group. “Sushi chefs are the most demanding customers in all of the food complex. If it meets their standards, you will be blown away.” Seafood selections range from fresh yellowfin tuna and Atlantic salmon to live lobster and king crab.
Kvarøy Arctic Salmon
This premium Atlantic salmon, sustainably raised at a third-generation family farm in Norway’s Arctic Circle, is now available for nationwide delivery through Fulton Fish Market. Thanks to this new collaboration, the semi-firm salmon—which boasts delicate marine flavors, a slight brininess, a rich buttery flavor and a medium-orange color due to its natural diet—is available to the masses. Ordering an entire fillet is perfect for the grill, or trying your hand at making lox at home.
Peter’s Florida Seafood
After three decades of providing the country’s top chefs with high-end wholesale seafood, 30-year veteran fishmonger and purveyor, Peter Jarvis, began shipping sustainable and responsibly harvested seafood nationwide. His new online retail store offers a variety of fresh catches from Cape Cod, Canada, Europe, Alaska and Australia, but it’s specialty is from the Florida’s coasts, like Key West yellowtail snapper, Florida black grouper and Key West pink shrimp.
Two X Sea
Since 2009, this sustainable seafood company has focused on harvesting fish in a way that avoids habitat destruction, tracing the origin of each catch and paying fair wages to fisherman. The Sausalito, Calif.-based company also sources much of their inventory locally, selling California halibut, McFarland Springs trout and California rockcod. Two X Sea offers fresh fish and frozen skin packs (cleaned, boned and ready-to-cook) through Shopify, delivering to customers throughout the Bay Area. Overnight shipping is also available upon request.
As a result of the pandemic, Luke’s Lobster temporarily closed all but one of their 26 shacks (only the Portland, Maine location remains open). The company pivoted to e-commerce in mid-March, selling lobster meat, lobster tails, lobster roll bundles and more directly to consumers. “Since we launched, we’ve added seasonal products like fresh scallops and halibut during the Maine season, and beautiful fresh oysters from Eros Oysters. We plan to continue offering holiday packages and bundles, too,” says brand director Meaghan Dillon.
Fulton Fish Market
New York’s legendary Fulton Fish Market offers the world’s largest assortment of fresh seafood online—all hand-selected by experts. With a focus on fresh, wild and sustainable American seafood, Fulton also sources from around the globe—including best-selling Ora King salmon from New Zealand and fine imported caviar. Prior to March, the majority of business was to restaurants, but the shift to consumers has resulted in a huge increase in order volume, and traffic to the site’s recipe hub. As grocery stores struggled with their supply chains, the company already had the infrastructure in place to deliver a wide range of high quality seafood.
This 40-year-old family business prides itself on supplying to many Michelin-rated restaurants from New York City to Washington, DC—including Le Bernardin, Gabriel Kreuther, Sushi Noz, Daniel, Atomix and Nakazawa. Since the pandemic has severely impacted restaurant business, Yama had to get creative. Their direct-to-consumer program delivers sushi-grade seafood—such as bluefin tuna, uni and select fish from Toyosu market in Japan—to the tri-state area and ships overnight across the country. Also, Yama’s team will walk customers through the cutting and preparation process over the phone so they feel comfortable with even the rarest cuts of fish.