URI Dining Services has supplied Silver Hake for our first locally caught meal of April! This is our first locally caught and sourced meal in celebration of URI’s Earth Month!! Later this month we will execute our second and last locally caught meal for the academic year!!!
At URI during April there is a sharp focus around what it means to be sustainable. This month places a focus on positive contributions everyone can give to our environment, even if it is just the smallest of actions. URI Dining Services has devoted a focus around sustainability this past year in three major ways: 1.) sourcing local seafood products 2.) sourcing local produce from URI’s own farm, surrounding RI area, and New England area 3.) As well as increasing composting efforts to divert food waste to be reused in practical compost for future produce harvests.
The locally caught Silver Hake meal will be served Wednesday April 11th, 2018 for dinner at both dining halls!!!
Silver Hake are also known as Atlantic Whiting, and they receive this label of “Whiting” because their meat is like a Cod, meaning it is an appealing white to off-white meat. The meat is firmer than that of a Cod or even Haddock meat, but the resemblance in taste are all too similar. In the past, this fish has not been appreciated as a worthy fish to serve and it has been labeled as a by-catch species. However, with research and a recent understanding of managing fish stocks to feed future populations the Silver Hake has been accepted as a meaningful, tasteful substitute for overutilized Cod and Haddock species. Eating some Silver Hake can incorporate what it means to be sustainable!!
This fish starts to become relevant in fish harvests around mid-spring, through summer, and into mid-fall each year around the New England area. During this time these fish serve a vital purpose to the eco-system they exist within. They serve as both prey and predators in the Atlantic eco-system, which means they can help grow other relevant fish species that they are prey of for harvest and control the growth of other fish species they prey on. Stating that, there are still an abundance of these fish in local waters which means that they are not in danger of being overfished for years to come.
The Silver Hake has been supplied by Narragansett Bay Lobster Co. out of Narragansett, RI. This fish will be unloaded off the dock Sunday (4-8-2018) and then filleted on Monday (4-9-2018), and then shipped directly to our Dining Services warehouse on Tuesday (4-10-2018). It will be prepared Wednesday morning and afternoon to be served at dinner on Wednesday April 11th, 2018 at both dining halls (4-11-2018).
This meal is a sustainable meal because its sourcing came locally from within the state of Rhode Island. This meal can also take a label of sustainable because of the reasoning that Silver Hake is an underutilized fish species in this area when available. Collaborating with local fish harvesters is a goal of URI Dining Services to source fish that is abundant, in season, fresh, and sustainable for our customers here at URI. For next year we will have a better road map on the types of fish species that will be present throughout different parts of the year with the historical data we have discovered this year.
We hope to increase the percentage of our locally sourced seafood as much as possible because seafood is one of Rhode Island’s best niches! We also want to provide great tasting fish that the population of URI’s campus can try and enjoy. We are working on executing meals such as these more frequently as we move from year to year. This will greatly increase the percentage our locally sourced seafood products we serve, as well as our total sustainable food purchasing power. If there are any suggestions please provide feedback on these local meals, and somethings we can do better while this sustainable seafood harvesting initiative grows!
This year we will be executing locally sourced fish meals every month to begin to source more local and fresh foods to be served to the faculty and student body here at URI. We are striving to bring in more underutilized fish around this time of the year to ease the burden on other popular fish stocks, as well as promote the utilization of other underutilized fish species as a method to become more conscious about sustainable food sourcing. These meals will be fresh and deliciously prepared, so please come down and try out the fish meat that will be present at these monthly dinners. And remember EAT LOCAL URI!!