The Small Boats, Big Taste Program was launched in 2020 as a response to the fishing and food security challenges exacerbated by COVID-19, with two goals:
- Help independent fishermen stay on the water
- Serve the growing number of people who need a good, ready-to-serve meal by supplying regional food banks with a nutritious, delicious, local seafood chowder
This program grew out of the Fish for Families collaboration with The Family Pantry of Cape Cod: since 2013 we annually distribute several thousand pounds of locally-caught seafood to families in need across Cape Cod, providing nutritionally superior seafood to those least able to afford it, supporting local fishermen, and promoting less popular fish species.
Since summer of 2020, the Small Boats, Big Taste Program produced more than 1 million servings of chowder and donated it to the region’s food banks, including The Family Pantry of Cape Cod, The Greater Boston Food Bank, Merrimack Valley Food Bank, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Worcester County Food Bank, New Hampshire Food Bank, Vermont Foodbank, Good Shepherd Food Bank, Connecticut Food Bank, Food Bank of Delaware, and Capital Area Food Bank. Chowder is also distributed locally through Family Table Collaborative, Cape & Islands Veterans Outreach Center, Barnstable Council on Aging, St. David’s Episcopal Church, First Lutheran Church-West Barnstable, Kitchen 246, Community Table, Alzheimer’s Family Support Center of Cape Cod, Helping Our Women, and Truro Community Kitchen. We guarantee fishermen a fair price for landing the fish, ensuring a steady buyer and keeping independent fishermen at work.
- A traditional New England haddock chowder: Smaller haddock are plentiful in our waters, but do not command a strong price in the marketplace because their fillets are small, making them perfect for chowder.
- A unique Provençal Fish Stew, made with skate and hearty vegetables in a tomato-based, dairy-free, gluten-free broth: Skate are sustainable, delicious, and one of the primary targets of the Chatham fleet. But skate are mostly exported, subjecting fishermen to buyer restrictions and the whims of foreign markets. Finally, this local fish is made accessible in this delicious stew.
Small Boats, Big Taste frozen products are available for wholesale purchase, in 18 oz. containers or 8 pound food service bags. Revenue from these sales help make the program self-funding, allowing continued chowder donations to food banks for years to come. In the meantime, donations continue to make a huge impact!
We hope to expand the program to other kinds of value-added products, based on the needs of local fishermen, and seasonal availability of fish and shellfish.
Follow #smallboatsbigtaste for the latest updates.
“It’s great to have the fish we catch here, stay here… The more options that we have to sell our fish, and the more options that people have to get a domestically sourced product, the better it is.”
Captain Nick Muto, F/V Dawn T