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Very shortly the "new" look will be up and active. The store is officially closed; just working on packing and moving (and finding some very special new products to add; STAY TUNED!
Very shortly the "new" look will be u and active. The store is officially closed; just working on packing and moving (and finding some very special new products to add; STAY TUNED!
Totally unrelated .... almost.

Totally unrelated .... almost.

As and when I can clear my mind from the litany of things that have yet to be done (today and seemingly every day), sometimes past thrills drift back to the forefront.  Below is one of mine.


No, there is no earthly connection between a smallish world feeding fish and bison.  But there is a great herring story.  Alaska has a huge herring population.  Herring … and herring eggs – "roe" in fish egg terms, is an unseen and huge part of the economy of those places - Sitka, Alaska being one of them - where herring bred in abundance.

Growing up in Detroit my folks and relatives ate pickled herring.  Kids did not; it looked and smelled disgusting!  Chunks of blue grey fish with the backbone and fins still in place.  I wanted no part … then.  Time passes and tastes change.  Occasionally I will admit to eating pickled and smoked herring in the not too distant past.

I was in Sitka, Alaska a few years back when the herring roe harvest was taking place.  It was fascinating!  Huge “factory” boats from Japan and other far east countries; smaller local fishing boats.  Spotter airplanes; local tender boats to drag the huge purse seine and other nets around the herring schools.  

  Racing each other to be in the right spot when the starters gun goes off; trying not to ram each other ... unless necessary.  And you can watch all this from the shoreline (there are only 14 total miles of road on the whole island … and yes, Sitka is an island).   


The actual fishing starts at the sound of a gun from “someone” with Alaska Fish and Wildlife when they determine that the herring spawn is starting … and ends abruptly when they believe the catch limit is theoretically reached according to the same agency … sometimes within less than an hour … sometimes maybe half a day.

In Sikta was/is a native brotherhood meeting place called The Alaskan Native Brotherhood Hall.  It serves as a meeting place for Native Alaskans mostly involved in commercial fishing … but actually was open to all.

Paper signs on phone poles around town during my  stay offered “Hot Lunch - $5”.  Since a $5 footlong subway sandwich then cost $9 in Sitka, it took a few days to get our courage up to go investigate … but so glad we did.  

We were the only non-natives who came in during our  entire stay.  I think we ate there 4 or 5 times.  Each meal was simple – soup, stew, bread.  Always home made right there and always good food.  And one of those times, we were asked if we would like herring roe on our salad.  Wow.  Just a small handful of these pale yellow bb sized gems.  Enough to get the flavor; not enough to cut into the limited quantity available for the whole local Native community. Fishy, salty …. And Anthony Bourdin would have been proud. 

So we got to see the whole process … from the planning through the consumption.  Some things that go on in our world that we might never get to notice if not for being in that right place just that one time.


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