Father’s Day fish fry
Over time, every Presque Isle Farmers Market producer gets a crack at telling his/her story, contributing ideas or details, or ghost-writing articles as she or he sees fit, but it is rare that we “break the fourth wall.” However, in honor of Father’s Day, we set aside this tradition.
You may own an iPhone or use an iPad … today you can read an iArticle about fishing with my dad when I was 8-ish, back when pterosaurs flew and the continents waved goodbye to each other as their shores drifted apart.
That summer, my father regularly loaded my siblings and me in his four-wheel drive and shuttled us to a likely brook or stream to fish. At the time, I was certain I was all grown up, fiercely independent and determined to be autonomous. To his credit, Dad went along with that impression. He demonstrated how to thread a worm on a hook so it would stay put, how to time the flick of my wrist and the click of the reel so the hook and bobber ended up in the water and not in an alder bush behind me, and how to thread a keeper on a forked willow branch stringer to take home. And then he sent me off to do my thing.
Then, as now, there was no such thing for me to be close to water and not get soaking wet and filthy dirty. Then, as now, wading up the center of a small stream seemed easier than thrashing through the pucker-brush that lined the muddy banks. Then, as now, there was a dog or three leading as I sloshed up and down from bank to bank and rock to rock.
Despite sloshing and slogging, I do not remember being skunked; we consistently brought home a stringer of cleaned “brookies” to be dipped in milk, then dunked in a mixture of flour and cornmeal. We lowered them tail first into a cast-iron fry pan sizzling with tiny cubes of salt pork, then fried one side and then the other before we delivered those fish to a waiting dinner plate. Dad gave me one last demonstration to relieve supper of head, backbone and tail before feasting.
Just writing this, my mouth waters for fresh fish. But my time is usurped by harvesting, equipment repairs, fences that need building or moving, water lines that threaten to drain the well with their many leaks, flat tires and flat batteries bracketed between morning and evening chores. A whole day fishing is not in the cards.
How delighted am I, therefore, that the Micmac Trout Farm brings the most beautiful brook trout to the Presque Isle Farmers Market at Riverside on Saturday mornings, all cleaned, packed on ice, ready to hit that sizzling pan. Despite grown-up obligations, my dad and I may yet again share a fresh fish-fry. Maybe you and your Dad did the same and built some memories of your own.
The Presque Isle Farmers’ Market president for the 2018 season is Deena Albert-Parks of Chops Ahoy Farm in Woodland. For information about participating or visiting the market, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.