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Pure Food Fish

The way of work:


Loved watching the fishmongers set up their iced displays in the early morning hours. From Inside the Pike Place Market by Braiden Rex-Johnson and Paul Souders:


“Seafood has always been a hot commodity along Pike Place, where fresh Northwest seafood changes hands with a bit of the old, hard sell mingled with a sense of artistry and showmanship… like an artist concentrating on a difficult canvas [the fishmonger] arranges the red and cream-colored Dungeness crab over a hillside of ice one by one. He culls the creatures with holes or chips in their shells and sets aside the largest specimens. When the first two rows are lined up with military precision, he sets the plumpest, most perfect crabs on top of the rest, their claws splayed skyward in a mawkish salute. ‘They won’t buy ‘em unless they look good,’ he reasons in his soft, gruff voice.”


“During the 1920s and 1930s there were eleven fish stalls within the Market, with New World names [given to them by their immigrant founders] such as American Fish, State Fish Market, and Olympia Fish and Oyster Company. They were small and compact, tucked into every level and area of the old Market, and often shared space with grocery stores and butter and egg shops. Employees with surnames of Calderon, Bensussen, Ovadia, Cohen, Anon, and Levy were common. Their descendants remain in the market to this day [published 1999.]”


Blogged: Pure Work on Talking Story.

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Taken on August 12, 2011