When It Comes to Taste, You Can’t Beat Fresh

Skip the dinner reservations and the fancy cloth napkins. Here in the North Sound, we are blessed to have options when it comes to sourcing our seafood. In this month’s Web Exclusive, we talk about seafood wholesalers in Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties. You can buy fresh seafood at a weekend farmers market or year-round local market; fresh off the boat that motored here from Alaska; or even order it as part of a community-supported fishery (CSF). For information about where to find the freshest seafood from Bornstein to Westcott Bay, read on.


Bornstein Seafoods
1001 Hilton Ave., Bellingham | 360.734.7990

In business since 1934, Bornstein currently serves a worldwide market with seafood drawn from waters from California to Alaska. In 2010, leadership of the company was passed down from Myer Jay Bornstein to his three sons, Kevin, Colin,and Andrew. Today, the company holds a strong presence along the West Coast, offering everything from cod to shrimp. A six-pack of quality tuna costs $28.50 and a full case goes for $102.60.

Barlean’s Fishery
4936 Lake Terrell Rd., Ferndale | 360.384.0325

Barlean’s Fishery has been supplying seafood to local restaurants since its establishment in 1972. Customers can buy a pound of smoked chum salmon for $7.99 and seasoned sockeye salmon for $15.99. Barlean’s supplies restaurants in Bellingham like Homeskillet, Boundary Bay Brewery, Brandywine Kitchen, and Skylark’s Hidden Cafe.

Lummi Island Wild
3131 Mercer Ave., Bellingham | 360.366.8786

Lummi Island Wild boasts a fresh flavor in allthe fish it catches and sells. They say the flavor is noticeable immediately but becomes more obvious after the fish is frozen or smoked. A six-ounce portion of Baker Lake Wild Sockeye starts at $13. Customers can also pick up a whole wild king salmon fillet for $89.

Desire Fish Company
Squalicum Harbor Gate 7
722 Coho Way, Bellingham | 360.676.0605

Bob Gudmundson and Melinda Sweet first started harvesting salmon in 1985. After building a boat in 1990, the Desire, Bob and Melinda, along with their children, headed north to Alaska every summer. Eventually, they wanted to share the fish they caught with their community. Wild Alaskan Red King fillet portions go for $17.95 per pound and Wild Alaskan Coho fillet portions can be bought for $7.95 per pound.


Drifters Fish

This community-supported fishery lets you order online and connects you directly with sustainably harvested, traceable salmon caught via driftnet in Cordova, Alaska, where Michael and Nelly Hand have split their time between Cordova and their off-season base of Guemes Island. The couple has been harvesting wild salmon in Cordova for five years, and both have lengthy Alaska fishing backgrounds. Join the CSF for as little as $100 for a five-pound share or as much as $339 for a 20-pound share. You’ll get extras like recipes, San Juan Sea Salt, a cedar grilling plank and updates about the fishing season throughout the summer.

Taylor Shellfish
Samish Oyster Bar and Shellfish Market: 2182 Chuckanut Dr., Bow | 360.766.6002

Taylor Shellfish has been in the shellfish farming business for five generations. The Shelton shellfish farm and market opened in 1890 and the Samish location in 1991. “The Samish location incorporates a working farm and a retail location that allows the public a view into the farming operation,” says direct sales manager Call Nichols. Visitors can purchase Pacific Oysters, Shigoku Oysters, geoduck, manila clams, and Dungeness crab sourced from local fishers.

Westcott Bay Shellfish
904 Westcott Dr., Friday Harbor | 360.378.2489

Tucked in the Northwest corner of San Juan Island is this gold mine for shellfish –Westcott Bay Shellfish Farm. The farm has been growing and harvesting mussels, clams and oysters since the 1970s. Erik and Andrea Anderson purchased the farm in 2013 and have created an incredible experience for savoring the bounty of the Puget Sound. During winter months, the store is open Saturdays from 12 p.m. -3 p.m. to purchase oysters. During the regular season (May 17 -mid-September) visitors can share in the full experience –barbequed oysters or fresh on the half shell, daily mussel and clam specials, plus beer, wine, and various treats from the Westcott Bay store to enjoy at picnic tables overlooking the bay.

Skagit’s Own Fish Market
18042 WA-20, Burlington | 360.707.2722

Conveniently located a half mile off Interstate 5 on Highway 20 in Burlington, Skagit’s Own Fish Market is the perfect place to grab the fresh catch. Owners Tana and Erik Skaugrud work closely with local fishermen and women to procure the best salmon, mussels, crab, halibut and more. Their store also has shelves of local goods to create your delicious seafood meal. They’re open daily 10:30 a.m. -6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Black Rock Seafood
8991 Stevenson Rd., Anacortes | 360.293.2525

Black Rock Seafood, on Stevenson Road in Anacortes, is a small, family-owned business where, if you go often enough, you’ll start to feel like part of the family. Their fresh catch almost always includes Dungeness Crab,salmon (king, sockeye, coho), halibut (filet, cheeks), ling cod, true cod, rockfish, sole, and several frozen items like salmon, prawns and halibut. They’re open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Buck Bay Shellfish Farm
117 EJ Young Rd., Orcas Island | 360.376.5280

Buck Bay Shellfish Farm has been in operation since 2008. Owners Mark Sawyer and Toni Knudson specialize in Pacific oysters, which are grown in the bay; little neck and manila clams, also grown on in the bay; Dungeness crab and spot prawns as they are seasonally available. They welcome guests to stay and enjoy their purchases or take them to go. The farm’s store offers everything one needs to enjoy the bounty. The farm closes in October for winter but will open again in May.

For more content like this, check out last month’s feature Spectacular Seafood here.

"Here in the North Sound, we are blessed to have options when it comes to sourcing our seafood."