On the Hook

The Central Coast region boasts not only some of the richest agricultural land in U.S. — it is also home to the Monterey Bay that supplies our region with an wide array of wild seafood.

With two seafood suppliers at our markets, it’s easy to buy fresh fish every week. Each week, we will provide you with a list of what’s “on the hook” along with cooking tips and great recipes!

H & H Fresh Fish Ready for King Salmon Season

Hans Haveman of H & H Fresh Fish Company stood at his dock in the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor recently and wondered aloud what the upcoming king salmon season would be this year. Continue Reading →

Fresh Catch of the Month


This month you’ll find these fish available at H & H Fresh Fish Company:

  • White Sea Bass
  • King Salmon
  • Squid

Where Are All the Fish This Summer?

The report from our man at the docks, Hans Haverman, features continued odd fish behavior due to warmer than usual water temperatures.

“The Bay is filled with mackerel,” explained Hans. “It’s not a good fish for eating, but it is an excellent fish for using as bait.  The salmon, sea bass and halibut are all hitting the mackerel pretty hard and are now well fed — so that makes it a little tougher to get he fish to take the mackerel bait that’s attached to your fishing pole. The fish are out there, they’re just tougher to catch than usual.”

As the only official authorized buyer of commercial fish at the yacht harbor, H&H still gets the best and freshest fish available. Supply and demand being what they are, the lower catches mean higher prices. Haverman isn’t too concerned.

“These things happen all the time,” he said. It’ll straighten itself out soon. Remember last summer? It was anchovies.”

Hans and his fellow mongers can recommend the best fish for grilling for the Independence Day weekend, as well as provide tips for how best to cook it, grill it and serve it.

Warmer Ocean Temperatures Affecting Early Summer Catches

Above: Bay caught sea bass

The salmon season is underway and how well it’s doing depends on who you’re talking to.

“It’s really hit or miss for salmon this season,” according to Hans Haverman of H & H Fresh Fish Company. “The salmon haven’t been affected by the drought, but the warmer ocean temperatures have them acting very weird. They’re all spread out.”

Sporadic catches translates into higher prices. “People used to buy salmon for a barbeque, now they’re buying it for their birthday celebrations,” says Hans. “The fish is in really good condition and they look and taste fantastic.”

Summertime favorites such as sea bass and halibut are beginning to arrive. Bay caught ling cod are expected soon. “We anticipate a lot of Bay-caught fish this summer. The sea bass and halibut are excellent choices for grilling,” according to Hans. “Shoppers at the farmers markets will have excellent choices all summer long.”

H & H Fresh Fish Company is the authorized buyer of all commercial catches for the Santa Cruz harbor, giving Hans and his customers the first and best crack at buying the day’s catches. Check out the freshest selection of whole fish and fillets at the Aptos and MPC farmers markets.

Summer Fishing Season Begins!

Hans_-Ling-Cod-1We may not have had much of a winter, but the summer fishing season is beginning, and that’s good news for Central Coast shoppers who have been waiting for the summer fish to arrive.

Heidi Rhodes of H&H Fresh Fish is looking forward to the summer season. “Finally! It feels like it’s been a long winter. I am so excited for the summer fish to finally show up. We’re looking forward to seeing halibut, sea bass and black cod, plus the season just opened up for rock fish, ling cod, and everyone’s favorite, Chinook salmon.”

The California Fish and Game Commission are forecasting a good salmon season, too, with 1.5 million Chinook salmon passing through the area this summer. The strength of the run is encouraging, especially when the drought and the challenges low river levels present for the salmon are taken into consideration.

Shoppers at the farmers markets can expect to see a greater variety of freshly caught fish during the summer season, many of which are well suited for grilling.

Read: Cooking Tips for Fish

California Salmon Dodge Drought Bullet for Another Year

By Russ Parsons | Los Angeles Times | March 3, 2015

Populations of 2-year-old California salmon are healthy; next year may be a different story.

Apparently the California salmon has dodged the drought bullet for another year: The annual forecast for the fishery predicts that the population this year will be slightly bigger than last.

The initial results of the 2015 National Marine Fisheries Service survey forecasts an adult ocean population of California salmon that’s about 2.7% higher than last year.

That translates to about 650,000 fish — up from about 630,000 last year but substantially less than 2013 total of more than 800,000. Still, that’s far healthier than 2008 and 2009, when the fishery was closed completely.

The most recent figures are much better than many observers had predicted, given the devastating four-year drought the state is still enduring. With reduced water flow in the Sacramento River, some observers had feared a collapse in the population of young salmon heading out to sea.

There’s a pretty good chance well see that in the future, maybe as early as next year, says Michael O’Farrell, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research fisheries biologist specializing in salmon.

But we make abundance forecasts based on 2-year-old fish, and while California was certainly dry two years ago, it certainly wasn’t like it is now.

 { Read full article }

Fresh Catch of the Month

APRIL 2015

This month you’ll find these fish available at H & H Fresh Fish Company!

  • Black Cod
  • Sand Dabs
  • Petrale Sole

Dungeness Crab Season Begins November 15

Dungeness-Crab-1Who among us has not stopped to consider how something so hilarious to look at right in the eye could taste so darn good? In the early days of drug experimentation, crab acolytes would look deeply into the two beady eyes of the Dungeness crab in search of life’s meaning, only to feel the business end of one or both of their powerful claws gripping one or both of their nostrils. Continue Reading →

Market Squid

Market-Squid-1Did you know that ‘calamari’ is Italian for “squid”? Those Italians figured out they could sell a lot more of their catch if it had a sexier name, so there you have it.

Market squid, as it’s known here in the Monterey Bay, is smaller than Humboldt Squid, found in coastal waters further north, and is caught in Central California between April and November. Not only are they popular for appetizers and salads, but fishermen also use them as bait.
Continue Reading →