Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog
This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
For the past several Saturdays I've been setting up shop at the 3rd Street Farmers Market in Naples. The Collier County Extension office has a booth there, and all of agents and I rotate to work the booth each Saturday from December through May. We've had a booth there for at least the past three years, and it has a been a successful outreach project. We are able to share resources and provide advice to both residents and visitors who visit the market on a wide variety of subjects. In addition to an agent, there is also a Master Gardener present to answer plant and gardening questions.
When I'm at the market, I bring lots of fishing and seafood-related resources and answer questions on a variety of topics such as the use of circle hooks and dehooking tools, local fisheries and wildlife, mercury in fish and the pros and cons of farm raised vs. wild caught seafood. By far, the number one question I get is about fishing licenses and regulations. I find that many of the shoppers, both resident and visitor, are unfamiliar with who is required to have a fishing license, and what the latest changes to the fishing regulations are.
Besides answering questions, I also use the farmers market as an outlet to promote my upcoming outreach programs. Lately, I've been talking up my Seafood Seminar and Sampling Tour that takes place March 10th. For details, clickhere.
Captain Kirk's Stone Crabs of Naples
is a regular patron at the 3rd St.
The popularity of farmers markets continue to rise, and they are a great way to buy fresh, locally produced/harvested products and support area businesses. The 3rd Street Market, like many markets has several vendors selling seafood. Below are some tips to help ensure you purchase fresh products, and that you protect yourself from possible contamination.
FRESH SEAFOOD SHOULD NOT BE FISHY: Use your senses. If the products you want to buy have overpowering strong "fishy" odors, they probably aren't as fresh as they should be. Choose something else!
KEEP YOUR SEAFOOD COLD: If you plan to shop around for awhile at the market, purchase your seafood last so that it remains cold especially during warmer periods. If this can't be avoided, bring a cooler or ask the vendor for bags of ice to ensure your seafood stays cool. Spoilage can rapidly occur if seafood is not properly cooled. Once your seafood makes it home, be sure to store it in the coldest part of the fridge to help maintain freshness.
KEEP YOUR SEAFOOD CLEAN: Wash your seafood under cold running water and pat dry with a clean paper towel before cooking to help wash away any excess bacteria that might have accumulated from the time of purchase. Also, keep your seafood away from other raw or cooked products (and vice versa) to help avoid possible cross-contamination.
KEEP YOUR SEAFOOD MOVING: Seafood experts recommend eating most freshly-purchased seafood within 36 hours of purchase unless you plan to freeze it. Shellfish such as clams or oysters can be kept of several days if properly refrigerated. These recommendations help ensure maximum freshness!!!
To read more about recommended safe seafood handling practices for consumers clickhere!
See you next week at the market!!!!!
Collier County Sea Grant Agent
Bryan Fluech is the Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent for Collier County. His responsibilities include planning, developing, implementing and evaluating comprehensive marine and natural resource educational programs that focus on marine fisheries,seafood safety and sustainability, environmental stewardship, and marine education. Bryan conducts issue-based educational programs through workshops, conferences, publications and electronic media for various audiences that are associated with the recreational and commercial fishing sector, including fishing groups, marine and coastal resource users, marine management agencies, public and private organizations, youth groups and educational institutions.