The drive to Avila Beach is beautiful. It was a gorgeous clear day when I arrived at Pier 3. I walked down the long pier past the pelicans and some other vendors to the end where I found the Old Port Fisheries Company. I found Mike, whom I had been corresponding with via email and asked him to show me around. Mikes father, Barry started Old Port over 40 years ago when he saw a need to deliver the highest quality fish to his customers. Unlike most commercial fisherman at the time, Barry had a philosophy that all of his fish were to be handled with the utmost care which included hand filleting and packing with no preservatives. He was the first fish processor in the area to pack his fillets into boxes to insure the highest quality product went to his customers. In addition it gave him an edge over his competition at the time.
Today Old Port is run by his son Mike who takes care to get the finest locally sourced product available.
He works with the local fisherman including their own boat in San Francisco to bring in great seasonal product.
They also make their own smoked fish. I tried the smoked salmon and it was wonderful. It was moist unlike many smoked salmon that I have had which are dry for the most part. It has a rich smokey flavor that is well balanced and lets the flavor of the salmon come through.
When I was there I left with an assortment of fish as well as their infamous rock crab that comes from the local waters. Some of the local species include, halibut, ling cod, black cod, rock crab, abalone and more depending upon the season.
One interesting fact of the many that Mike told me about is that there a 3 types of ling cod white, yellow and blue. The flavor of each is similar but the meat corresponds to the fish skin color being either white, yellow or blue. When choosing rock crab it is best to get the crabs that have the smaller bodies and larger claws.
If you are in the area it is well worth going there. They take great care with all their customers.