Letter: Bristol needs a fishmonger


Today I found myself looking for fresh octopus.  There was none to be had anywhere.

I started to think how wonderful it would be if Bristol had a fishmonger right on the dock.  Sure there are plenty of seafood markets in town but variety is limited and many products are frozen and shipped across the Atlantic or farther.  Not much is actually locally caught and sold fresh.  Shellfish excluded from the list.

We have an abundance of different species right here in local waters.  Bass, octopus, eel, monkfish, scup, cod, fluke, bluefish, haddock, flounder, lobster, crab, quahogs, scallops, oysters and clams are just some of the local species to be had.

So I ask. How wonderful would it be to have a fishmonger?  Imagine waking up at about 5:00 in the morning to get the freshest catch right off the boat.  All of these beautiful products coming in and immediately being put on display on a bed of ice for you to use that day.  You wake up and brave the elements on any given day to provide a fresh meal for your family.  It may be pouring or freezing on that day but you would go for these fresh affordable delicacies.

You would go and meet fellow townspeople and exchange recipes, get ideas for supper, smile, and laugh and feel good about what you have supplied to your family.

There would be no processing or chemicals used which seems to be killing us faster and faster these days.

There are a pretty good amount of Italian and Portuguese residents in our beautiful town.  I wouldn’t imagine that octopus and eel would be a hard sell.  People could expand their palates by using less expensive and often discarded species which are perfectly fine for consumption yet not commercially sold.

It could be located in the old fort at the end or Church St.  Imagine other vendors such as butchers and fresh locally grown vegetables.  We could eat seasonal dishes that are healthy and less expensive.  (Providing the vendors keep prices below grocery store prices)

Anyhow, I know I’m dreaming but I ask again.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

Steve St. Angelo



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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.