Today was the annual 'Fishermen Helping Kids With Cancer' herring sale. Like last year I volunteered to help. Last year I spent most of my time opening the plastic bags that the herring were put into. This time when I got there I found out I was down for pushing wheelbarrows. Okay, I do lots of that at home, and could probably do it for a little while.....Anyway, another fellow came along and got a group of us organized, and in the end I was the next stop after people had paid and were wanting to collect their bags of fish. I took their tickets (one per bag) and got them connected with someone else that helped them get their herring. There was a whole bunch of people with wheel barrows and big cart things that would push your load of herring to your car. Some of those cars were parked a long way off.
I heard there were 65 tons of herring. That is a LOT of fish. People were lining up from 4:30 am. This is just some of the people lined up inside. There are actually pathways that snake back and forth across the building. It took at least a couple of hours (or more) to get from the start of the line to the end.
And the line went outside as well.
The bags were supposed to hold 20 lbs, and cost $15. One fellow bought 35 bags! Surely he wasn't using all those himself.
There were more volunteers than were needed. I was there at 8:30, and about 10:30 someone came along and asked if I needed a break. I didn't really, but decided to take one and go buy my own herring. The advantage of being a volunteer is that I could just skip the whole lineup. So a young woman wheeled the four bags to my car (three for me for dog food, and one for a friend who said she wants to make pickled herring). I weighed those bags when I got home, because I could tell some had more in that others. The lightest one was 16.5 lbs and the heaviest was 25 lbs. Oh well, all the money goes to a good cause! My friend is not getting the heaviest one, but I didn't give her the lightest one either ;-)
So now I was out of a job, so I wandered around to see if I could help anywhere else, but no one wanted a break. There were seagulls everywhere.
Look at the roof!
I wandered over to the bagging shed, but the girl doing my job (haha!) didn't want a break either.
I spoke to my fisherman neighbour Bob, there on the right, tying up a bag. He said we should have carpooled (the drive was 50 minutes), but then he admitted that he had just got there, so that wouldn't have worked.
The herring are dumped on a conveyor, and then come down to the end and fill up a box. A door is opened and they fall in the bag underneath. A pretty good method but it does allow for some variation in how much goes into each bag. There is no way that they could weigh each bag, it would just take too long.
That background noise is the seagulls. We used to call them shit hawks when I was a kid living in White Rock.
I am feeling very pleased with myself that all my 60 pounds or so of herring got rebagged at home and into the freezer. ( I am very good at acquiring large quantities of things, and then procrastinating on processing them). These big square bags from Dollarama worked perfectly. A layer of herring, zip the bag mostly shut, put another bag on top, fill it with a layer of herring, and repeat. The top bag forced most of the air out of the bag underneath, which was then zipped closed. They were carried on the cookie sheet to the freezer, and it was easy to slide the whole lot off onto the top of the previous bags. This way it is easy to break them apart when I want to feed one to each dog. I just put them in a bit of warm water for a few minutes, and chomp chomp down they go.
So when that lady comes to the market tomorrow, oops, which is now today, and she's upset because I didn't get the Mango Chutney made, I 'll tell her what I did instead.
Lousy excuse, oh well, I am so ready to be done with the jam making for a while.
I'd better get to bed, the alarm is going off in 5 and a half hours.