On Thursday night I read a post on a Facebook group I belong to. It was telling members about the Herring Sale today. It is a fundraiser for kids with cancer. Fishermen donate their time and boats and fish for herring that is then sold at the dock for 50 cents a pound. Herring is something I feed the dogs, raw. It's something we should eat to, cooked of course, but I'm not there yet. That would mean I'd have to gut and fillet them first. Anyway, I thought about going to Steveston in Richmond to get the herring. It's a bit of a drive, nearly an hour.
Then I thought well maybe they still need volunteers, so I sent off an email Thursday evening, and low and behold, yes, they could still use my help. I volunteered to be a wheelbarrow pusher, thinking I'd lots of experience with that. With some emailing back and forth we got it figured out. I was going to get there about 10. Larry decided to come too, which I figured was great, he could stand in the lineup and get some fish and I could go and help.
The first crew started bagging fish at 5:30 am and there were people lining up already at that time. Sales weren't supposed to start until 8. By the time we got there the warehouse was full of people lined up. Larry stood there for 2 3/4 hours to get 60 lbs of fish! I felt bad when I found that out later, he doesn't take standing well for a long period of time. I asked him if he found someone to chat to, and he said yes, to a little Phillipino lady. He said she said the sale used to be quieter until the Chinese people found out about it. We thought that was pretty funny! I'd say 95% of the customers were of Asian descent.
The wheelbarrow pushers would take the fish to people's cars, if they hadn't brought their own form of transporting it. The bags were about 20 lbs each. I think the people in the wheelbarrow section looked at me and thought, wow, I don't think this old lady will be able to do much. My only load was 6 bags, and they gave me this monstrous big blue plastic wheelbarrow on two wheels, that they said would be easier, and that I didn't like at all. So I pushed it to the fellow's car (and he asked me a couple of times if I needed help). He unloaded the bags into the buckets he had in his trunk, and I turned to head back with the wheelbarrow. He quickly pushed a $5 tip into my hand. Well I thought that was pretty funny, but I thanked him and told him I would donate it to the cause, which I did.
While I was waiting for another load, I got called away and put on the fish line. They needed someone to get the bags out of the box and opened up and handed to the guy that was filling the bags under the hopper. That's me in the yellow pants and green jacket, hanging out with the big boys, the actual fishermen.
The herring were dumped by forklift out of those red totes in the background, onto the conveyor up where those people are behind the lady in the black head scarf. The herring would come down and were pushed into a hopper set into the table. When it was full, the bottom of the hopper was slid open and the fish shot down a chute and into the bag that was held under the hopper by a guy that is seated and out of sight. The guy on my left then took it from him and heaved it up onto those upturned totes to the left, and the guys there tied knots in the tops of the bags, and heaved the bags into another bin where they were handed out to the customers.
There were two guys sitting down bagging fish. I was there for three hours and went through more than two cases of bags. I figure I opened about 1200 bags for the guy on my side. It went fast. At 1:30 all the fish was sold. There were lots of disappointed customers. I heard a guy complaining that he had left in the morning because of the three hour wait, and then when he came back all the fish was sold. There is no limit on how much you could buy, they just want to get it sold. I heard there were 50 tons.
At the end I asked about the fish on the floor, could I just take some for dog food. Sure they said, so I got two more bags. How can I pass up such a good deal? I always forget that I (or we) have to deal with it all when I get home.
Remember those 85 lbs of cherries we picked for 50 cents a pound. Then we had to pit them all....
Or last week at the market. One of the vendors was there for his last week. Instead of picking the leaves off his kale and collards, he just cut the stem on the plant and sold the whole thing for $2. What a bargain. I bought 6 of them. Just to get some idea of the size of them, that red cooler holds 20 dozen eggs, and the blue one, 24 dozen. Now I did use up all the curly kale and made them into kale chips. Wow can I eat a lot of kale that way.
We did have collards for breakfast a couple of mornings. Onions, mushrooms, prosciutto and sliced collard leaves sauteed and then eggs cracked on top, the lid put on and steamed to cooked the eggs.
And then Larry made chili yesterday and more sliced collards got added to that. But, there are still most of the greens from the blue cooler left. And we need the cooler for the eggs at the market in the morning. I'm going to have to do something with those greens, maybe steam them and freeze them? At the moment they are in a bucket of water sitting under the deck. Maybe I'll get something done with them tomorrow or Monday. Right now I have to head out to the barn and bag up herring I laid on trays to freeze individually when we got home this afternoon. Hopefully I can get the rest of them done tonight.