Sean Dimin is the founder and CEO of Sea to Table and explains that the company "started with a love of fishing." Sean says that it was clear to him that there was a need for fishermen and commercial docks to get a better market as well as a need for chefs to have access to high-quality, sustainable seafood. Sean founded Sea to Table to "deliver a high-quality product and tell the story behind it.” The company works hard to make their operation as transparent as possible to allow traceability, accountability, and honesty between fishermen, sellers, and consumers.
In addition to restaurants, universities, colleges, and businesses, Sea to Table provides fresh seafood to Americans through their new home delivery service. "To be able to reach right into people's homes and connect with them at the dinner table and give them a better option of fish is key to what we do," Sean shared. In February of 2017, Sea to Table provided about 1 million portions of seafood for their customers and diners. Sean explained that "over 90% of the seafood that is consumed in this country is imported," making it the company’s goal to improve the value and quality behind the fish that we eat by providing customers with sustainable, traceable, and local options.
While there is a growing awareness and shared sentiment among consumers that we want to know where our food comes from, we often overestimate the ability of the earth’s ecosystems to keep up with our demand. Fisheries involve complex interactions between species and their environment, and just like any resource, there are limits to how much we can take. In order to become more conscientious as consumers, it is essential to develop an awareness of seasonality and locality for everything we eat, including seafood.
Sea to Table incorporates this consumer education into its practices in order to help people understand what fishermen are catching (which are often not the same species of fish that Americans are used to eating). Tuna, shrimp, cod, and salmon are the most popular fish in the U.S., yet these are also some of the most unsustainable species due to the vast quantities in which they are harvested. "We are doing a lot of education to bring the diner right to the dock to see what it is like... and to see how the fish were caught, who caught them, and what fish they were catching," Sean explains.
Sean shares that his favorite part of the job is when he gets to be on the water. "It is where I have a connection and it is not every day that we get to connect with nature. I think it brings us back to an elemental root of where our food comes from." Sean believes that something anyone can do to protect fish stocks and contribute to ocean health is just to care. "If you care about the fish that you eat and buy, you want to know where it came from," he explains. By demanding transparency about where our food is coming from, we as consumers have the power to change the way that food is produced and sold on the market.
Thank you so much Sean for all of your hard work to make our food system more sustainable. UMass Dining appreciates all of the knowledge and resources you are able to share with our customers and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the future to educate and empower!
For more information about Sea to Table, or to get high quality seafood delivered right to your door, visit their website.
Looking for a job this summer? Join our wonderful, dedicated team of permies and spend your summer days in the permaculture gardens! To apply for this 15/hr per week position, please download our position description and application here and email your completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, April 6th.
Members of the Summer Crew work under the Sustainability Coordinator of Campus Gardens and Student Garden Coordinators to support the planning and upkeep of the UMass Permaculture gardens and educate garden visitors. For this role, members of the Summer Crew will develop and maintain our on-campus permaculture sites at Franklin, Berkshire, Hillside, Worcester, and Hampshire. Daily responsibilities may include planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, working with volunteers, and leading tours. Crew members will also assist in longer-term projects, such as repairing raised beds, installing mushroom production systems, plant design, and other tasks as needed. Throughout this process, members of the Summer Crew learn about permaculture design, sustainable agriculture techniques, plant identification, and volunteer leadership.
If you are interested in applying to the UMass Permaculture Summer Crew position, please submit your completed application to email@example.com by Friday, April 6th.
We look forward to reviewing your applications! Feel free to reach out to Hannah Logan (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions you have!
Fort River Farm, located less than four miles from campus in Hadley, MA provides UMass Dining with high quality, pasture-raised Black Angus beef. All of the beef produced from Fort River Farm is processed in Vermont and is both certified prime and certified humane. Beef cattle can be found grazing on Fort River Farm’s 60 acres of land, 365 days a year. Bruce says that the cows prefer to be outside in the fields all year round even through snowy New England winters.
Fort River Farm is also home to upwards of 25 Swiss cows of all ages that are raised for their raw milk. This is such a small, select group that, unlike on most dairy farms, Bruce knows all of them by name. They bottle fresh raw milk every day and any milk that is too old to be sold is fed to their pigs to minimize their food waste. The beef cattle are tended to by other farmers on their team, but Bruce takes sole responsibility for caring for his five Swiss cows.
Aside from raising cows for beef and raw milk, Bruce also owns and operates Maple Valley Creamery and the Mill Valley Milk Store. Maple Valley Creamery has been making ice cream for nine years, and source Jersey milk from other farms to make their product. Every year, Maple Valley Creamery collaborates with the UMass Amherst Food Science department to hold a competition where students compete in groups to make the best flavor to add to Maple Valley Creamery's wide selection. Their newest flavor – root beer float – won this year’s competition.
Thank you so much to Bruce Jenks for the hard work that you do to care for your animals while supplying conscientiously-raised beef and dairy products to the local community!
To purchase Fort River Farm’s grass-fed meat, raw milk, and Maple Valley Creamery ice cream,
check out their farm store located in Hadley. Here, you can also find an abundance of other local products from farmers and vendors in the area. For more information about their farm visit their website!
Photo Credit: Keith Toffling
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.