Something is fishy in Sharon
SHARON — Sharon is approximately 67 miles from Long Island Sound, and farther than that from other fishing ports. Nevertheless, two seafood vendors here in town cater to the needs of local and regional customers who love to eat fish —and want it fresh from the ocean.J.J. Herman’s seafood truck has been a fixture on Gay Street in Sharon for 22 years. Every Friday and Saturday the seafood truck is parked on a lot at the intersection with Calkinstown Road. “We get our seafood fresh every week from Boston, Mass., Point Judith, R.I., and Stonington, Conn.,” Herman said. “We carry all kinds of seafood you can’t get elsewhere.”The truck stocks fresh seafood in season. In November there were Nantucket bay scallops; in January he will have fresh Maine shrimp. February’s feature will be shad and shad roe. Herman said he also accepts special orders.“We can get seafood not readily available in Northwest Corner supermarkets,” Herman said, offering Iranian caviar as one example. “In total we have 40 different kinds of caviar, a choice for every budget.”He calls much of what he sells “day boat products,”which is seafood caught one day and offered for sale in his truck the next day.Herman’s truck is open for business on Thursdays in Torrington. In addition to Sharon, he has weekend trucks selling fresh seafood in Washington Depot and Kent.Herman’s company is Rent-A-Chef Seafood Purveyors & Caterers. In addition to retail sales, he offers catering of raw bars, clambakes and cookouts as well as full-service catering for small parties, large events and everything in between. In addition to seafood, the truck also sells filet mignon and strip steaks for customers who want a surf-and-turf dinner.Diagonally across the street, inside the Sharon Farm Market, the Blue Sea Fresh Seafood Company operates the grocery’s seafood department. Managed by Chuck Lee and Sonny Whang, Blue Seafood is a full-service seafood vendor.When asked what their big sellers were, Lee and Whang said, “Number one is salmon then cod, flounder, whole fish and arctic char.” Lee drives to the Hunts Point wholesale fish market in New York City at least three times a week — usually on Monday, Wednesday and Friday — to purchase fresh inventory. Many weeks he also makes additional trips to Hunts Point.Every Friday and Saturday, Blue Sea offers fresh live lobsters, sold live or steamed. As a service, they will open fresh oysters and clams for customers. Whang noted they sell fresh, not frozen, swordfish. One of their specialties is soft shell crabs, which they have year round. “We overbuy soft shell crabs when they are in season,” Whang explained. “It is a seafood that freezes well. We freeze some so they can be available all year long, not just in the season.”Lee said Blue Sea regularly takes special orders from customers. “If a customer needs something, I’ll make an extra trip to Hunts Point for them.”In addition to fresh seafood, Blue Sea has a separate counter they call the Seafood Deli, offering ready-to-eat seafood products as well as some that are prepared and ready to cook. One of the best sellers is Korean seafood pancakes. The deli also offers a variety of fresh fish in tasty coatings; stuffed clams; shrimp salads and more.Blue Sea Fresh Seafood is inside the Sharon Farm Market. For more information or to place special orders, call 860-397-5161. Blue Sea is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.J.J. Herman’s seafood truck is open Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the winter. Summer hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For information, call 860-482-9561.