When visitors come to Tillamook County on the Oregon coast, they often have fresh seafood on their minds. Community Supported Fishery, based in the fishing port of Garibaldi, turns those thoughts into reality.
CSF is a “boat to table community enterprise” headed by Jeff Wong and Mark Wilde, who took over the former Tillamook Bay Boathouse processor facility in March 2014. The two men grew up in Portland and met about four years before starting their business. They do their own fishing aboard Wilde’s 30-foot Longfin, and they work with about three dozen other boats along the Oregon coast to supply high-quality seafood to chefs, groceries, wholesalers and directly to consumers.
In Tillamook County, CSF seafood is served by chefs at Manzanita’s Big Wave Cafe and Bread and Ocean Bakery, and is available at Manzanita’s IGA supermarket, the Schooner Restaurant & Lounge in Netarts and Pirate’s Cove near Garibaldi. It is available at CSF’s cannery at the northeast end of the Garibaldi boat basin, the summertime Manzanita Farmers’ Market and other locations — including stores and restaurants in the Willamette Valley and Bend — which are listed on the CSF website, with more outlets in the works.
What puts the “community” into Community Supported Fishery? A couple things — one is the company’s increasing shift toward a model in which consumers can pay an annual fee to have access to CSF products at chef prices.
“We’re using Our Table Cooperative out of Sherwood. We’re a member producer with them,” said Wong, adding that he and Wilde are setting up their own community-supported operation now that their sales to bigger markets have given them the needed financial sustainability.
The word “community” also figures in the value that CSF brings to the local community by offering a better deal to fishermen, and by using other products from the area. Buying directly from fishermen at Oregon ports and selling directly to end users means other middlemen aren’t in the picture, creating value at both ends. In addition, CSF sells its canned fish in Jacobsen Salt from Netarts Bay and Oregon Olive Mill oil from Dayton. “Everything in that can is sourced within 100 miles,” Wong said.
CSF insists on high standards of fish handling by skippers, but Wilde says only a few have been rejected. “These guys, they’ve all been doing it for three, four, five generations; they know how to treat those fish way better than we do,” he said.
Wilde and Wong sell albacore tuna, coho salmon, Chinook salmon, black rockfish, lingcod, Dungeness crabs, spot prawns, octopus, oysters, clams and limited black cod, plus some sockeye salmon from northern waters that they receive already cut.
Wong says dealing with customers and “hearing them rave” is rewarding, and Wilde loves being “part of this culture of recognizing the quality of local products.”
CSF tries to get seafood from boats to diners’ plates in half the industry standard time, and sometimes the turnaround is much faster.
“I can literally take a crab off of my boat and have it on a diner’s plate at the Big Wave Cafe in an hour,” Wong said. “Literally, I can do that in an hour.”