Tastiest catch

Demand for North Carolina seafood is growing as the local-foods movement has stretched from farms to other foods. The issues that come along with that increased interest are explored in “North Carolina’s Local Catch” on UNC-TV tonight at 10 p.m.

The program explores seafood caught on the coast, the challenges facing those who harvest it and the place of fishing in the state’s coastal heritage.

Chefs from Lone Cedar Cafe in Nags Head and Sammy’s Seafood House and Oyster Bar in Morehead City, along with people from coastal seafood markets, talk about using local seafood – and how to tell that it’s local in the first place.

That’s always the question, isn’t it? Even on the coast, I’ve learned to ask questions about menus and which restaurants are really dedicated to local seafood. Not everything you eat on the coast is locally caught. For example, the season for N.C. shrimp doesn’t start up until the summer, so if you see fresh shrimp in January, it’s unlikely that it’s local. I’ve been told by coastal restaurants that because flounder is so popular with diners, they feel they must have it on the menu, even out of its local season. (I usually order whatever the special of the night is, because it’s most likely to be local and unusual.)

Educate yourself about local seafood by looking at the North Carolina Seafood Availability Chart from North Carolina Sea Grant. Sea Grant’s site has additional information about local seafood and efforts to promote and preserve it. It also participated in funding for “North Carolina’s Local Catch.”


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