It may have been St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, but not everyone was Irish and not everything was green inside Boston’s enormous Convention Center. That is, unless you counted the green lip mussels or the piles of green seaweed that became home to lobsters and assorted sea creatures featured at this year’s North America Seafood Expo.
From the moment you enter this enormous show hall, forget about beef and don’t even try to think chicken. You’re 100% IMMERSED in seafood sensory overload. And how can you not be with 100-foot sculptures swimming overhead; displays built to look like 100-foot fishing trawlers; and banks of crushed ice with every imaginable fish, mollusk and crustacean you’ve ever heard of or seen (and some you haven’t). And did I mention the gorgeous models serving never-ending samples of shrimp, lobster and crab?
It’s not fair. I never stood a chance. Thankfully, I had my business cards with me to remember my name and remind me why I was there.
And why were we there? It was work (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
And my job (as I’m telling it) was to dive into this menagerie of seafood catchers, processors, suppliers, and distributors to see the latest products and trends, and hopefully get a glimpse into what’s coming to market in the near future.
At my side was Nino’s Own Marketplace Fisheries expert, Tim Schmatz, who was on his own quest of discovery.
Keeping track of a seafood guy like Tim at the largest seafood show in North America was like having a 200-pound Marlin on the end of a 100 test fishing line. You don’t try to reel him in. You just try to keep him close to the boat and hope he eventually wears himself out.
From the international companies, such as Chicken of the Sea, Sea Trade, Phillips, Eastern Fisheries and Ocean Garden, to the smaller independents and start-up companies looking to find a distributor to bring their products to market, there was something to learn, see or taste at nearly every one of the hundreds of booths we visited.
Then, there’s the tasting part, which I have to admit wasn’t the toughest part of the day. The Expo just swarms with expert chefs preparing samples of everything from raw Hamachi to deep-fried shrimp, jumbo crab cakes, lobster and some of the most succulent fish you can imagine.
Did I tell you how hard I worked?
Fortunately, for my waist line (and my feet), we ran out of carpet–after 2 days. But, if you love seafood (and I do), it was THE place to be on the North American continent that weekend.
The takeaways (besides the extra pounds I gained) were some inspiring new recipe ideas, some new products and a few new suppliers we hope to grow lasting relationships with.
If you’d like a glimpse of what the 2014 Seafood Expo of North America was like, watch the short video I made with, of all things, my phone. I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Check it out and let me know which fish or shellfish you’d like to see more of at Nino’s. Or maybe you’ll just tell me I should give up my video hobby and stick to my day job.
Still, I’ll have Boston and the memories of being in seafood heaven, even if only for two days.