Last year, the Port wrote a feature on Fishermen’s Wharf in our “From the Source” series. This year, we revisit this Charleston Marina icon again with its new owners, Will and Shanda Smith. The Smith’s look forward to carrying on the legacy of Fishermen’s Wharf by continuing to value the food, quality, fishermen, customers and the Charleston community.Read More
This blog series on community, industry, and business in Southwest Oregon from the Port’s perspective.
Matt (pictured above) opened up Fishermen’s Wharf in 2007 after buying it from the previous owner and his store has been one of the few local stores that provides fresh seafood right off the boat. Since a lot of seafood is usually trucked out of the local community, his store is a great outlet for local fishermen to sell their product and for people to get locally sourced seafood. In addition to fresh seafood, Fishermen’s Wharf also stocks specialty foods and snacks from places such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and more. The staff provides tours of the Charleston Marina and there’s a picnic area where people can enjoy the marina scene.
What is most important to Matt though is not the seafood but the experience that customers get when they go to Fishermen’s wharf. It’s the experience of going down to the docks and picking out fresh seafood that came straight from the commercial fishing boats in the Charleston Marina. Some lucky customers might even get a visit from Charleston Marina’s own harbor seal, Flash.
Fishermen’s wharf also sees itself as an active part of contributing to the local community not only through its store but also through projects such as the America’s Best Communities grant. When asked about where he sees Fishermen’s Wharf in the future, he says “just right here.” Looks like tourists and the local community will have fresh and locally sourced seafood to look forward to for a long time.
The Charleston Crab Feed is coming up and we thought we'd give you an inside look on where the crabs on your plate this weekend come from! Yesterday, we got a glimpse on how crabs are processed and talked to three crabbers on what their lifestyle is like.
Pictured on the right is Tyler, the owner of The Harvester which he and his crew call the “Porsche” of crab boats. He’s been crabbing for 16 years and when asked about what it’s like, he says it’s a lot of getting up early and getting in late. He tells us the best spots for crabbing are usually at sandy spots, away from the rocks.
Burt (on the left) is also a crabber and went to high school with Tyler. They met at a wine festival in Elkton, reconnected and that’s when he got into crabbing. According to him “crabbing is where it’s at!” Burt likes crabbing because it’s pretty straightforward. “When you run 300 pots, it’s either good or bad. If it’s bad, you move somewhere else. There’s no indecisiveness to it.” It's the bread and butter of his family but during the off season, he is also involved in tuna, salmon and halibut fishing.
Crabbing however, does involve a lot of physical labor and hours without pay. For example, the gear takes about a month to get ready for the crabbing season. In addition, crabbing involves a lot of long hours. A good day to run 300 pots will be 12 hours if everything goes smoothly and that’s a good day.
A crabber at heart, Burt says that despite the long hours, crabbing is the best life and he wouldn’t trade it for any other job. In his words, “I love crabbing!”
Thank you to all the crabbers and fishermen out there who are a big part of our local economy! Don't forget to get crackin' this weekend at the Charleston Crab Feed!