Off to Market: Blue Moon Fish
Named a “Greenmarket staple” by the 2008 Zagat Survey, Blue Moon Fish has been selling Long Island caught fish at New York City Greenmarkets since 1988 at the start of the local food movement. Although the founding couple Alex and Stephanie Villani dock their boat (and namesake) in Mattituck, Long Island, we recently caught up with co-founder Stephanie at their Union Square Greenmarket stall where they sell fresh whole and filleted fish, shellfish, and their own smoked and pickled fish on Wednesdays.
How did you guys start out?
Well, my husband is a commercial fisherman, and he just started this on the side to make some extra money. It turned out to be so popular that he fishes mainly for the Greenmarket now. We’ve been doing the market since 1988. We’ve been here a long time—before it was popular. Now it’s gotten really popular but it’s good for the farmers and its good for us because it’s really hard to make a living as a fisherman or a farmer. You just don’t get good prices wholesale. We keep our prices reasonable for the public, because there’s no middleman.
Where do your fish come from?
The eastern part of the sound and then some of the fish comes from Shinnecock out in the ocean, like the scallops and the tunas. Also, we, buy a certain amount [of fish] from local fishermen in Long Island.
How do you store your fish?
It’s all fresh, nothing’s frozen. My husband is pretty good at bringing the amount we need for the day. If there’s anything leftover some of I smoke, some of fit I can sell, and then some of it I can’t do anything with. That’s another good thing about smoking the fish, which we started because we didn’t want to waste what we were leftover with.
What are the your best selling fish and why?
I would say that flounder and scallops are really the most prominent. They’re mild and people are familiar with them
What are some of your more underappreciated fish?
Probably the less well-known fish like butterfish or black fish. Sea trout is a really delicious fish but a lot of people don’t try it because I think they’re just not familiar with it. You know, it’s a lot harder to sell the fish that people don’t really know very well. Once I sort of introduce them to it and they try it, then they like it. For example, one year I had a lot of Spanish mackerel that’s delicious but people just weren’t familiar with it. So once I took the time to explain what it was like, how to cook it, then they tried it and found that they really liked it. So now, when I have a bit of Spanish mackerel, it flies off the shelf.
What’s your favorite fish?
I like striped bass and the scallops because they’re just really good and they’re seasonal—so you can’t get them all the time and that makes you want them more.
Are most of your clientele regulars?
It’s a lot of neighborhood people. You wouldn’t think there are neighborhood people in Union Square, but there are and they come every week. I know the same people who have been coming for years and years—in all of our markets. But we get a lot of new people too.
Interviewed by Nadia. Photographs taken by Kat Ching.
Posted on Friday, August, 3, 2012, in Fish and tagged Blue Moon Fish, fish, flounder, fluke, fresh fish in New York, Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, Greenmarket Tribeca, Long Island fish, New York farmers market, Off to Market, scallops, sea trout, spanish mackerel, tuna, Union Square Greenmarket, Zagat Survey. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.