By Kaley Pillinger
It’s been nine years and Ashley Edington still gets seasick. Since she was 15, she has been working with her uncle at Seatuck Fish Company, and mornings on the fishing boat usher in rounds of queasiness.
Seatuck is a tried and true family business based in Moriches Bay, Long Island, and Edington understands the market like a second language. She knows when to get which fish; they migrate with seasons, and there are regulations by month — “You can’t touch a bass before June 1st.”
On weekdays, the Edingtons take their boat out for the day and are home by dinner. On weekends, they set up shop in one of their eight regular markets.
Each market has a unique personality: Customers at 175th Street and Broadway favor whole fish, crabs and chowders, whereas those at the Stuyvesant Town market prefer scallops. Only an hour after the market’s opening, Edington was already onto her second bucket of scallops. However, it’s not always easy determining which fish to bring.
“Some weeks they might buy a lot of calamari and the next week they won’t buy any. It’s always a guessing game.”
Missing the mark results in a waste of time and resources. Just the process of transportation alone is cumbersome. Edington commented that coolers can be one of the company’s biggest expenses: the company buys around twenty coolers annually.
In general, though, she has a sense of customers’ tastes. She has many customers for whom she can start bagging the fish as soon as she sees them approaching. Countless more customers ask for advice on opening shellfish or making a fish soup. She joked that she gives cooking instructions “about 300 times a day.”
One man, picking up mussels from the Seatuck stand, asked Edington who cleans all the fish and she told him it was she.
He incredulously responded, “There are too many for one person.”
She explained with a laugh: “I’m very talented.”