If you’ve opened a can of tuna from CS Fishery, you probably had the same reaction that my husband and I did. We took the cover off of the 7-ounce can, and there in front of us were chunks of meat. It wasn’t shredded and gray. It was actual chunks of fish in olive oil. We both look at each other and said, “Whoa. This is different.”
CS Fishery is different. It’s different because it’s truly a local business, and that translates into a different quality in their product. Most commercial fisheries travel hundreds of miles to fish, and then ship their product overseas to be processed, to then ship it back to the United States be sold. (Yes, you read that right. Seems crazy? We know.) This degrades the quality of the product while also increasing their carbon footprint.
With CS Fishery, fishermen fish the Oregon coast, primarily going out for only a day or two at a time, and bring their catch back to Garibaldi, Oregon, where the fish is processed right at the landing site. By keeping the fish local, Mark Wilde, a CS Fishery co-founder, and Chris Zelenka an Oregon Fisherman, are able to maintain a level of quality control that isn’t possible when the fish is transported around the globe and back. It also enables them to bring jobs to a community that has struggled for years to maintain industry.
“In Oregon port towns, every job matters,” said Mark. “And we’ve seen a real impact by bringing jobs back to Garibaldi.”
They’ve chosen to further their commitment to creating a local product by using Oregon Mill Olive Oil, which is grown and pressed about 50 miles from Garibaldi, and Jacobson Kosher Sea Salt, which is from about 20 miles away. This further differentiates their product from other premium brands. And, as a way to further minimize waste, CS Fishery has worked to use the whole fish in its process.
“We aim for as close to zero waste as possible,” said Mark. “We use the bloodline for bait-scent making and the carcass for crab bait.”
So when you open up a CS Fishery 7-ounce can of tuna for lunch, you can feel good about how the tuna was fished, and what this group of Oregon fishermen is doing for their local communities. Because, as we know, what we eat does have an impact on our local economies, the environment, and our bodies.
Kate Marlow is a former English teacher turned writer. She lives in Greenwich, CT, with her husband, two children, and dachshund named Virgil.