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Opinion column: Fishy business in cattle country

Posted: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

As an outsider new to the area, I find some aspects of living in a new town somewhat more difficult to adjust to. One of these “no so easily adjusted” adjustments is the lack of fresh fish available at restaurants, as well as at the supermarkets around town.

I am well aware of where Torrington sits geographically on the map and that there is no coastline anywhere even remotely near here. Let’s just say it took me a second to realize that “Port of Entry” doesn’t include an Aransas behind it.

What I can’t seem to understand is why neighboring areas such as Scottsbluff and Cheyenne have fish, whether it is a large selection or not in their markets, as well as having restaurants where people can enjoy sushi? What would need to happen to truck an extra 30-plus miles to bring in a little more variety to the area?

I know that in Fort Collins there is an extensive selection of fish and seafood at their Whole Foods Market. I imagine if I really wanted to cook fresh pecan-crusted red snapper I would be making a nice little four-hour round trip to get my goods. And, hopefully, I wouldn’t forget to haul a cooler down with me and maybe save some money on having to buy one to keep the fish cold.

But, knowing me, I would bet money I forget, and it would just add fuel to the already lit fire of the long drive for seafood. I mean, who doesn’t like pan-seared scallops in white wine and garlic butter?

I know I would at least like to have the option to play with recipes that include “meats” outside of beef, pork and yard bird. And yes, I love cooking, which is why I’m even writing this silly little “personal complaint.” With that said, I really don’t mind buying the frozen salmon fillets at the supermarket, but it is an inconvenience at times.

For instance, if I want to cook salmon for supper but forget to pull it out of the freezer before I leave for work to thaw, I’m then stuck in the position to either push dinner back an hour later or find something else to make. There is no way to “run to the store” and get more fish.

And when it comes to seafood, I’ve been told some mixed reviews about the local steakhouse, which has crab legs on its menu, but I have yet to try them. Thing is, if I would like to have crab legs seasoned up in a rajin’ Cajun’ style, AKA very spicy, I’m a little out of luck to get them on a whim let alone at the restaurant.

I’m sure there are a great number of residents in Goshen County who couldn’t care less about fish and seafood in the marketplace. But, I am also willing to assume that there are a decent handful of people who would enjoy seeing items such as tilapia, salmon, whitefish, tuna steaks, crab and scallops kept on ice for purchase.

And yes, I know the river is full of the “freshest fish” possible. As a fisherman myself, I enjoy river fish too. Nothing beats a good piece of fresh-caught trout, but not for every meal that includes fish.

I suppose what I’m really doing with this piece is … absolutely nothing except complaining. When it all boils down to it, I guess I’ll be driving to Colorado or Cheyenne if I want anything remotely close to what I wrote about earlier in this, what my editor told me, is my “opinion piece.”

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