Slow Fish 2019:
A Walk through an Italian Port City
Recap by Jordyn Kastlunger, Slow Fish Co-Chair
Europe was always a place that I envisioned but never imagined I would be fortunate enough to visit. The eight days that I was lucky enough to spend there were nowhere near long enough, but I enjoyed every second of it. My involvement with Slow Food Urban San Diego began a few years ago when they became involved in Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, which I have been a part of since its conception in 2015. Slow Food sponsored me on a scholarship to Slow Fish 2018 in San Francisco, where I represented and spoke on behalf of the market and the fishermen. I also talked about the importance of knowing your fish source in terms of seafood traceability.
This year when the opportunity arose to attend Slow Fish 2019, I jumped at the chance. This year the event would take place in Genoa, Italy, and that was all that it took for me to make my way across the globe. I was beyond excited to make my way to another coast to experience and learn more about what I am passionate about…fishing.
“I quickly learned that the fishing scene in Italy is very different to what we are used to here in San Diego.”
We are fortunate to be able to source direct from the fishermen whenever we want; in Italy, for most cities, their seafood is filtered through Milan before it reaches the consumer. I found this surprising given that Genoa is a port city. At the “Which Fish to Pick” speech that I attended, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the guest chef and fish monger that was speaking talk about the importance of knowing and trusting your source. He also mentioned seasonal availability and willingness to try new species if something is not in season.
Being a world apart, we do share some similarities with Genoa. We have many of the same fishing practices, including trap fisheries and net fishing. Both cities also see highly migratory species like swordfish and tuna. I was surprised to hear some attendees ask what I thought were common knowledge questions, like how to store fish if you don’t eat it right away, and how long fresh fish would last.
“The main focus of many of the booths and vendors at the event was on anchovies and mackerel. Again, this surprised me because being the daughter of a lifetime fishermen, I was brought up on the idea that both of these were nothing more than bait fish. In Italy, they were considered a delicacy and people loved eating them. With the few that I tried, I cannot say that I was completely sold on the idea or taste of these two fish.”
During my down time, I got to explore more of the Italian coast. I was amazed by the views, the history and the food that I experienced. Italy was everything I had imagined a European country to be. I am so grateful to be part of a community that encourages and allows me to follow my passion and experience the fishing community in so many ways.