1923 Fresh Fish Availability Calendar

Fish availability calendar
Source: General Welfare Guild Cook Book (1923) published by the General Welfare Guild of the Beaver Valley General Hospital, New Brighton, Pennsylvania

Until I saw a fish availability calendar in a 1923 cookbook, I never thought about the seasonal variation in when various types of fish can be purchased. In today’s world, where fresh fish are sometime shipped across hemispheres and previously frozen fish are sometimes thawed and sold as “fresh,” is there much seasonal variability?

16 thoughts on “1923 Fresh Fish Availability Calendar

  1. There still is, especially if you are looking for local seafood. Often it is the ‘best’ time for a certain fish, not the only time. Oysters are now available all year long, but used to only be sold during cooler periods because of the problem of transporting them without refrigeration. However, they are the most plump and delicious in the fall, winter, and spring (all the months with an ‘r’), so one should probably still think of that as their season, when they are not spawning, and taste better.

    1. It must be wonderful to have a real fish monger, and have access to fresh fish at its peak time! I have been fortunate enough to dine in coastal restaurants that still have “catch of the day”!

      1. It seems like “catch of the day” is so much less common today – even when I visit cities right on the coast. I can remember eating at a nice restaurant on the east coast that overlooked the water with fish from Chili, Alaska, and other places – but nothing local.

      2. The catch of the day is always the best, isn’t it?
        I have taught a lot of people to cook, and one of the things I tell them is to make friends with their local fish monger, they love to be be appreciated, and you never know when you’ll be rewarded with a big bag of fish bones (a treasure!). You can gain so much insight into what is best right now. We know we are lucky to have some really good fish markets here.

    2. I’ve also heard that you should buy oysters only during months with an “r” but didn’t know the reason. I never thought about how things like spawning might affect the taste.

  2. I enjoyed this Pennsylvania fish calendar, Sheryl. On the Calif. coast, the fish availability is dominated by seasonality. Many holiday meals feature the December crab harvests.

  3. I never knew fish came into season, although I do remember the salmon season when I lived in Alaska. With the availability of fresh fish in stores near me (plus living just a few hours from the Gulf) it is now good to know what is probably the freshest.

  4. Yes… my husband would go with friends smelt fishing but only when they were running (last couple of weeks in April) now the runs are so small that there aren’t that many fish!!

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