I am always on the look out to learn more about the industry. I love meeting new people and listening to different takes on all things seafood. The one thing you never do in this industry is stop learning.
Peterhead Market – The largest seafood market in Europe
My summer started with a fantastic visit to the U.K’s largest fish market in Peterhead, just outside Aberdeen. I was escorted on the day by an inspirational member of the Seafish team, Jess Sparks who has the enviable role of working around the Aberdeen and Fraserburgh area supporting the industry – a fabulous life! It was really exciting to see the market in full swing and it wasn’t so much the number of species of fish available, but the quantity; a complete reverse from Billingsgate. Laid out across the floor, as far as the eye could see, where stacked boxes of beautifully free seafood, generally filled with 40kg of fish at a time.
On the day I visited, there was bucket loads of cod, saithe (we call it coley in the South) haddock, flat fish and particularly hake. Hake is a currently trending fish and becoming hugely popular with chefs.
I met up with Peter from The Budding Rose. He had just returned from 7 days at sea and had come down to the market to view his catch being sold and to get a feeling for prices as these will fluctuate daily.
The fish is sold by auction with a number of auctions taking place at any one time with an auctioneer, buyers and agents gathered around the boxes. In a blink of an eye it is sold and removed from the market so it can be ready to load on the transport system to leave that morning.
Some fish is designated to Billingsgate and around the UK, much goes abroad.
I was enthused by the amount of MSC fish available and how this is listed on a display board noting prices for the day and who had landed what.
Learn more about Europe’s largest seafood market.
New Peterhead market
The week I was there was going to be the last in the old market and I was shown (the very impressive) new trading floor. It was so huge it was almost impossible to see the last box. The main reason for the move is to enable the fish to be displayed without the need to stack boxes and they can see what they are selling. I’m looking forward to a return visit in due course.
At the Seafood School we try and visit as many Seafood Festivals as possible during the summer and my highlights included the Hastings Mid-Summer Seafood Festival, Portsmouth Seafood Festival and The Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival. Our team also attended the Kid’s Country Festival in Peterborough.
Hundreds of primary school children took part in learning about where their food comes from. A fabulous warm summer of seafood events and autumn will bring the exciting arrival of Seafood Week.
Seafood Learning – Billingsgate Seafood School
At Billingsgate, we work with a number of species at the school to make the most of the variety we have available in the UK. We ask every single person who visits the school if they have had their ‘2 a week’… pointing out that in Spain 4 portions are recommended weekly.
Focusing on cooking seafood very simply is key so that our guests can understand how to tell when seafood is perfectly cooked and how easy it is to prepare. By tasting ‘naked’… and with little adornment, guests are always taken aback by just how good it tastes.
For me personally – I have had a wonderful family holiday in Scotland with family. My absolute summer highlight was enjoying bowls of Cullen Skink at various establishments and then tweeting the dish. I showed the team how to make it and all have asked for it again very soon. Delicious!
Would this article encourage you to eat seafood?