Much More Than a Fish Market

Posted: April 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Ipswich, Ipswich Shellfish Fish Market, Marketplace, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It’s no secret that we love exploring gourmet food markets, and when they carry lots of local and store-made products, we really get excited. At Ipswich Shellfish Fish Market, it seems like every time you turn around, you discover something wonderful.

For starters, there’s the gorgeous display of fresh fish, clams, and Maine crab—lobsters swim in a custom-built pool nearby. Then there are prepared foods like stuffed peppers, grilled cajun scallops, lobster-stuffed clams, and salmon cakes, plus taramosalta and fresh Greek yogurt. If you’re in the store near lunchtime, you can feast on a variety of soups, sandwiches, a great-looking salad bar, and individually packaged desserts.

And that’s just the beginning. There are store-made sauces, seasonings, and vinegars (blood orange and black fig sound particularly good). There’s an Asian-food section that includes nori, bonito flakes, short-grain rice, and rice paper wrappers for summer rolls, saving area residents a trip to a specialty market. A rack of bread holds a number of selections from Annarosa’s in Newburyport and Alexandra’s in Gloucester.

The freezer contains a wealth of treasures like salt cod, octopus, fish stock, and lobster stock, along with a selection of prepared entrées. If you have a sweet tooth, we highly recommend a package of whoopie pies from Newburyport’s Chococoa ($5 for three and worth every penny).

Treasures for those eating gluten free are also abundant, including a hot prepared entrée each day, frozen entrées, and packaged goods like bread crumbs, crackers, rice pasta, and granola.

But perhaps the most surprising thing you’ll find in this fish market is grass-fed beef from Appleton Farms, a Trustees of Reservations property located a few miles from the store.

The beef is not only fresh and local, it’s considerably healthier than beef from cows fed a grain diet. Store manager Zina Smith says she tried the ground beef and a few steaks from last year’s supply (it’s available from late spring to early winter), and it was terrific. She added a warning not to overcook it, as it’s much leaner than supermarket beef.

Smith suggests calling the store in advance if you’re looking to purchase beef, as the farm’s CSA members get their shares first, with the remainder going to Ipswich Shellfish and Bruni’s Market.

Tucked away on a side street a few blocks from the main drag, this beautiful, well-stocked market is a hidden gem worth seeking out.

Ipswich Shellfish Fish Market
8 Hayward St, Ipswich
(978) 356-6941


Got Lobster?

Posted: March 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Marblehead, Paul Crowell Lobsters, Seafood | Tags: , , | 4 Comments »

Marblehead lobsterman Paul Crowell is probably not familiar with the word locavore or the buzz surrounding the concept—but he is certain to delight those in search of local seafood at a bargain price.

Born in Marblehead, Crowell started working his traps 49 years ago, and not too long after began selling his catch at Fort Beach. An affable, easygoing guy with striking blue eyes and a ready smile, he has become a well-known local fixture.

Recently, he moved his storefront, which consists of his pickup truck, a cooler, and a scale, to the parking lot of the Marblehead Boat Yard at 89 Front St., just behind the Landing Restaurant. Crowell said the move affords an increase in foot traffic and better visibility for cars driving by.

Crowell’s business is cash only, but it’s well worth the stop at an ATM before heading down to Front Street. Prices change with the market, but he sells his lobsters for a dollar or two per pound over what he would net selling them to wholesale distributors.

This weekend, he was selling chicken lobsters (a pound or under) for $5.99/lb and selects for $6.50/lb. A few miles away, Super Stop and Shop in Vinnin Square was selling chickens for $10.99 a pound and selects for $12.99/lb! You can’t ignore savings like that, and the freshness is guaranteed.

In the winter, Crowell takes his boat out two to three times a week, weather permitting, and in the summer he’s on the water every day. When we visited him, the lobsters he was selling had been caught that morning, and having sampled his wares, we can attest to the incredible difference that makes in the taste.

Crowell is only open for business Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00-4:00 pm. Sure, finding parking on Front Street during a weekend afternoon may be difficult, but having to walk a few blocks gives you an excuse to enjoy Marblehead’s historic waterfront or pop into the shops on Washington Street. Whether you’re a dedicated locavore or simply a lobster lover, for off-the-boat freshness at a bargain price, Paul Crowell’s operation can’t be beat.

Paul Crowell
89 Front St, Marblehead
Sat & Sun 2:00-4:00