Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holidays at the fish market

We all find ourselves on the brink of greatness. On the brink of seafood serenity, on the brink of stupendous shipping, on the brink of a helluva holiday..........

on the brink of a day off!

Of the past 14 days, a majority of us have shown up every single day to work 12 hours. I'm sure there are nurses and doctors out there saying "wah wah wah" but hey, alls we know is fish, yelling, cutting, lifting, shoveling, and answering the phone with a credit card in our mouth, a fish in the hand and five different numbers in our head. We are multitasking masters and good god it's time for a day off.

Shipping has gone well, and the mantra of "controlled chaos" has rung true. With two computers, four phone lines and 14 guys running around, we have moved a helluva lot of seafood over the past 14 days. We are humans and mistakes happen, but for a group of young guys who gather at 6:30am everyday in 28 degree, snowy weather for two solid weeks is pretty amazing.

Our "box manager" Tyler has made sure each one is equipped with styrofoam, tape and the proper newspaper. Our shipping manager Jeremy has been tracking down UPS boxes like a wild game hunter in the rainforest. And yes, oh yes, Ryan Yokoyama has been working the phones like a seasoned family business owner (his dad is the manager and his uncle owns the joint!) assuring people their holidays will go off with the least amount of hitches that we can help.
"it's fun to experience a Christmas at the shop without having to make boxes, I've finally arrived!" he says.

With the weather playing a huge role in much of the country this December, we at the market have shown up keeping normal hours every day as if the city of Seattle was not shutting down their airport, bus system and many other municipal duties.
"It's not the damn apocalpyse," says Scott the driver "it's just snow. I gotta get to the aiport!"

With many customers having been very understanding, our preferred carrier UPS has gone above and beyond. When Seattle claimed the "worse storm in over 30 years", we had a chain-clad truck at our shop a day early collecting packages for the following morning.
"Dude, I just got a call from someone in New Mexico. We shipped their stuff yesterday, it went to Louisville and they had it by noon today. That's crazy!" Anders says in our morning huddle. "UPS called and said all things that may not have gotten there, they are automatically updating to Saturday delivery," says Jeremy. We hope it is comforting to every single one of our customers that we are all stretching to make this holiday go well. We work hard, our suppliers work hard, our shippers work hard, we want a seamless, happy holiday.

We stand on the brink of a great Christmas eve and hope our seafood finds its home with you and your loved ones.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

World Famous Jumping Jacks

We present a 360 degree view of Pike Place Fish on a snowy, December Thursday. With all the shippers packed, and all the other market stands gone for the day, we declare ourselves the winners and remember that it's still snowing and below freezing! I swear there is a customer there and it was totally worth it. Yes......those are world famous jumping-jacks.

Holy Snowy Thursday!

Schools are closed, buses are jack-knifed on first avenue, even the resilient, recumbent bike-cummuters of Seattle have ceased to travel.

Oh we are open!

It's 6:15am and there are 10, lycra-clad travelers with coffee in hand. They aren't standing still, they're elbow deep in crabs, helping to set-up the show. Market employees walk by with puzzled looks on their faces in disbelief at how much energy these customers have and how they maybe don't realize that there is snow on the ground and a complete shutdown of a major, US city. These out of towners got their jog in early and decided to swing by and see what the fishmongers were up to, and ended up buying our book. Who wakes up at 6am to buy a book at a fish market that isn't even setup?

As much of the country freezes over and begins to snuggle up with the Today Show, the Price is Right and all the other gems of daytime TV and the hardest working appliance in the house that hallowed coffee maker, we are shoveling ice, setting up the perfect shows of shellfish, seafood and crabs, and generating the most energetic stand in the Pike Place Market.

When the other fish markets rolled in at 7, we already had packed 30+ boxes of shippers. When the other fish markets closed at 4:30 because it was "too cold", we were doing jumping jacks as Paul our UPS driver let out a sigh of relief as he saw Jeremy put on the last shippping label that read "Thursday".

Generating. Generating. Generating.

Jeremy sits in the corner and types in shipppers for 12 hours a day, then goes home and punches in more. Anders, Rector, and Sam do exercises in front of the crab show to stay warm while the last shoppers gather their holiday feasts. Yori takes a case of smoked salmon to the head and continues to work the full day battered and bruised. It's December and we are all HERE!

In this economy and this present moment, we have no laurels and no lazy boy......just the best seafood in the world and the most powerful collection of creative, conscious beings on the planet.

Please ship your stuff soon, don't wait. We're not here to "ruin Christmas" for people.

Monday, December 15, 2008

fresh vs. frozen?

Wow, finally a blog post about fish? A question of quality perhaps, or texture, or even taste. Heck, let's see if they delve deep into the ethics of freezing food....... maybe they'll discuss an environmental issue, a long running hot button issue of frozen endangered fish?


Don't take the bait, 's not a post about fresh seafood and frozen seafood. It's really a post about frozen fishmongers. Think about this; your job description includes rubber boots, ice, shovels, freezers, coolers, and you'll be working outside.

"Sign me up!"

16 rowdy, scruffy, holiday-rush-minded mongers throw their hands into the morning huddle. Dick "The Boss" sips his coffee and just says "It's cold boys, but the people are here, let's be with 'em and sell 'em fish!" Let's ship 'em fish.

Good golly it's cold in Seattle. Bundled up as much as he can in the shipping department corner, Jeremy tops out at seven layers this fine "sunny" Seattle day. "World famous baby, that's how we do it!" he says with the slightest hint of sarcasm. Not gonna sugar coat it today, it's cold.

Not gonna lie though, I'm going home to fire up my grill! I like grilled animals, and fish ain't a bad idea. I don't care how cold it is, I'll have a beer in hand as soon as I can with that fatty, flaky fantastic fish on the fire. hoo rah!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Straight on Through 'til Christmas

Stuff comes and goes. It fades in and out of popularity. You want it one day, the next you don't even remember why you bought it.

Seafood's not like that. Cocktail shrimp are comfort food. Smoked salmon goes with everything. Heck, I like Old Bay seasoning so much, I carry it in my pocket and put that stuff on my popcorn at the movies.

The point is, the end of 2008 has some people out there scared, we all get that. What we also get is the comfort of an awesome meal and the fact that everyone has to eat. Peeling prawns over the sink with mom, slurping raw oysters and Frank's hot sauce with the cousins, cracking a dungeness leg on the edge of the back porch railing. Preparing food with others is love. These are actions but at the root, you're sharing love and "breaking bread" with one another.

Every single one of us here at the the fish market believe in that and that is why we work the hours we do and work as hard as we do to provide that experience to everyone we can whether you're taking it with you or we're shipping it overnight.

The holiday rush has us all working anywhere from seven to 13 days straight to get it all done. Anders calls it "joyful controlled chaos" as he inhales dinner like a zombie on day 10.......Jaison says it's more of a "spin cycle" for his body as his fiance supports him with a bagged lunch everyday. We're moving a ton of seafood and whether it's shipping manager Jeremy with his headset in the corner sifting through paper work or Rector sailing the 30 pound wild, Alaskan salmon (we got a 35 pounder today from Sitka, AK!) over the counter, we all are going above and beyond for the holiday season. We're choosing to work our asses off and make this place busy.......cause we said so.

Bring it!
Don't know what to send? Ship Early and eat well.
Here is a page with a bunch of different shipping specials!


Away he goes...our tireless and fearless truck. He's been a graffiti canvas, a snowball target, a temporary napping spot, and of course the most dependable fish transporter there is. And he is far from broken, but tonight we saw him dragged to the doctor's office. There wasn't a dry eye in the market as our rig was lifited and dragged thru his stomping grounds. Babies were crying, women and children were gasping and shielding their eyes......but the fish still flew, oh yes!

What I'm doing now is creating a great truck.

A truck that yells "heeeyyyaahhh" all the way to the airport and back.

A truck that picks up the best fish in the world.

The driver is world class, no problems there (haha! That's me). We're more wanting a working vehicle. The Seattle airport is about 25 minutes away from our fish market and one cannot bike with salmon on his back. So what do we need? A truck, a good fish truck.

Above you see visible evidence of what we call a "breakdown", something fell out of integrity. In this case, the glorious chariot carrying the fantastically famous fish. I'm putting it out there that this is already handled, the truck is fixed. Right. Publish the breakdown and the breakthrough has already occured! Now everyone else, create that with me and the holiday rush will go off without a hitch and tomorrow we will have a truck! Heeyyyaah!

Ryan Rector, a three year driver for the fish market, and in-house meat expert Don (of Don & Joe's Meats) remove their hats for a moment of silence for our fallen team member. Dry your eyes fellas, it's already done, I can feel it!

Jeff's Back!

Ice falls in your hair, you drop your cell phone, it's loud, all you want to do is pay for the fish and get out of the madness. A bunch of pierced and tatooed guys scurry around and you all the sudden can't remember who even has your order........"Who was helping you?" one of them asks. "That one? Was it him? I can't remember now, you all just look..."

"Go ahead lady, say we all look the same!" Now you're embarassed.

Well after that snazzy lil' intro, we welcome back one of those pierced and tatooed special guys as a full time crew member. Jeff was here for four years, took a break slingin' fish somewhere else before he realized he "needed Pike Place Fish in his life."

It's a universal thing as far as we're concerned, we all need a little Pike Place in our lives.
Welcome back Jeff, now start making boxes cause you're startin at the bottom!