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Fish Market Blog

Here Eric shares thoughts, inspirations and his favorite recipes!

Buy With Confidence

 Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Buy With Confidence

Inland Seafood of ATL provides all the Fresh Fish you have come to trust and enjoy every week in Eric’s Fresh Fish Market Sylva & Franklin.

I approached Mike Hulsey, Director of Retail Operations in the fall of 2007 with my idea to open a Fresh Fish Market here in the Mountains. He was intrigued. Fresh Fish Markets don’t have the strongest track record in WNC; many come and many go. But Mike understood my business plan for a defined business that focused on event: Eating Fresh Fish for the Weekend. He jumped on the opportunity, and with his help, I opened the first Eric’s Fresh Fish Market in Sylva, the summer of ’08.

My previous 22 years experience serving WNC through opening from the ground up four restaurants and then, a brief stint teaching at Western Carolina University gave me not only the vision for a fresh fish market but developed the necessary tools, knowledge, and familiarity with this area to open a dedicated Fresh Fish Market.  

Working exclusively with Inland sets Eric’s Fresh Fish Market apart from your average fish-mongerer. We are joined hand-to-hand with Inland, a Seafood company that drives the Seafood Industry from their home base in Atlanta on through to warehouses and distribution facilities in Birmingham, New Orleans, and Charlotte (Click Here) serving both Retail Grocers (Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Publix, Kroger, to name a few, with a variety of seafood products and condiments) and Restaurants (many local restaurants we all enjoy, along with several national chains) throughout the Southeast. We proudly share alongside locally and regionally owned businesses our relationship with Inland (Click Here).

This exclusive relationship with Inland assures our customers of getting Safe, Quality Fresh Fish every time we open the doors Thursday – Friday – Saturday. Their commitment to food quality and safety is evidenced by Inland’s ongoing relationship with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), Safe Quality Foods Program where Inland Seafood enjoys an SQF 2000 Level 3 certification.

We share this same dedication both philosophically and practically through our exclusive commitment to buying product from the No. 1 provider of Fresh Fish in the Southeast.

So, when you visit the Market, and Alice or Lynda, or Linda Ross and Nancie Wilson, me, or any one of our friends that help out on occasion, you can buy with confidence.

Fresh Fish: Thursday – Friday – Saturday.  


Love and Fear and Fresh Fish

 Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Haven't posted in a while, but "Love and Fear" seems to be a continually relevant contemplation. Topically, what do love and fear have to do with Fresh Fish? I'm one of those people who believes everything is connected, nothing exists in a vacuum. "Love and Fear and Fresh Fish," let's see what happens:

My wife Norma and I read together virtually every morning. We pray together, too. Our selections vary, from seasonal poetry and literature to scriptures, sometimes she will pull out a portion of her journal and read something she's contemplating. We'll discuss it and, hopefully, start our day in similar space. 

This morning, Norma had me pull out my Bible Promise book, the one with captions leading "Where to read when..." It's an old Rex Humbard scripture compilation given to me years ago by a long since passed dear friend. We decided to read the section "When you are Afraid." My skittish nature often visits there, and this morning, before the sun popped out, was particularly dark in our old farm house. Cold, outside of our blankets, and silent here in Valley View. Our warrior cat, Aragorn, discovered another pony-tail band on the steep steps and began attacking it in the dark, shattering the silence and growling as if his "catch" was about to get away. As ponies do.

"Perfect love casts out fear." That's the passage we centered on from I John in the New Testament. Aragorn decided to let the "pony holder" live for another day and scurried out the mud room cat door. We read out loud, put the promise book down across our white comforter and listened to the silence. Aragorn outside searching for something more challenging to wrestle with, mice and rabbits and no doubt, large animals, trembling with fear as he prowled the grounds.

Norma broke the silence: "It's all about love and fear. The Fish Market. Cullowhee Mountain Arts. Your music. The CD. My art. Friends, family, the election, everything. All of it boils down to a battle between love and fear, and what we're going to give into, how we are going to live. What we choose to do and practice."

Then we prayed and walked into today. What does this have to do with Fresh Fish? Hmmm... it's rather obvious, isn't it?


Father's Day 2012 & Fresh Fish

 Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Okay, I’ll admit it: Pretty hard to connect Eric’s Fresh Fish Market with Father’s Day, but hang with me here, let’s see what happens.

Truth is, I opened the Market back in 2008 after my three adult children cornered  & challenged me to take a deep, hard, and long look at my life. They were concerned b/c although by that point I’d finally begun to get my life in some semblance of order, they didn’t understand any of my choices. None of them seem connected to what they knew about me growing up, under my gentle and loving guidance and direction (if you can call it that). Wall-paper Installer, House Painter, Skating Rink and Family Center Complex Manager, Restaurant Owner, Pizza Franchisee, Cemetery Plot Salesman (Favorite Sales Pitch: Got a headache today?), on up to present day, esteemed English College Professor.

Dad! What are you doing with your life? Wow. That’s always been tough to answer.

Ancient echoes in my head, a variety of concerned tones and voices resonate through my mental corridors: What do YOU want to do, Little Eric? ? ? ? ?

In all its varieties of phrasings like winter cloaks hanging in an unvisited closet full of musty scents. Hidden, always there, up in some lost room of an old mansion. Never could answer that one; at least, well enough to satisfy whomever towered over me with great paternal presence, worry carved into stern features. Instead, I preferred tossing a baseball up in the air for hours and hours in our front yard, playing imaginary baseball games, making the perfect catch and slinging a perfect strike over to catch the runner at first base. Practicing grounders, I threw the ball up against our ugly, orange Augusta, Georgia clay brick home just so the ball spun back and slithered between the bushes onto the slope where I scooped it up into my leather glove time after time until the evening sun disappeared and the folks called for bed time. So, I guess I played a lot.

Back to the Fish, though, digression comes too easily for the distracted mind.

I looked at my three adult kids, their faces engraved with the same wonder and excitement pulsing through me, seemingly unattached to any exterior force or breeze or . . . reason. Some of us are wired that way, you know? It’s always made perfect sense. Non-attachment, for us, doesn’t need to be an Eastern invasion of Western Culture and Philosophy; it was born in us, like an oak seed falls into the soil, rots and breaks open, and grows into a mighty, towering presence. Of course, I’m only 5’7”, so that’s obviously an unfinished process . . .

As for my three kids, they’re much more focused than their dad (which was actually my plan all along).


 Shaken back into the progeny parental cornering booth, I stared into three sets of deep, brown eyes keenly poised for my response. Well? In unison.

 Images of my students at Western flushed into my head, faces, poorly written papers and annotated bibliographies created with the most intent earnestness and dedication any professor could hope for; assignments wafted like magic carpets floating through Arabian Nights. Mr. Hendrix, Mr. Hendrix: Can I have one more week to finish this 2 page paper? You see, my excuse, excuse, apology, procrastination, dawdle-dawdle, interruption, disruption, interruption, best of intentions!!! Please!

 It was at that moment, a HUGE Fresh Fish barged into my swirling thoughts; no, not Don Knott's Incredible Mr. Limpit, but a light burst through the din of papers and excuses and voices and bureaucracy driving education today like Dawn after Dark and Thermal Thunderstorms (I just capitalized those words b/c alliterations often get lost in a sentence). Becoming aware of the room again and those huge sets of brown eyes toe-tapping impatiently for my response, LIFE! Clarity exploded in me like that oak seed penetrating the soil gulping in the first rays of sun, determined to grow bigger and stronger and sturdier than any tree in the forest.

 A mischievous smile curled across my lips and the wrinkles left my broad, sun-burnt forehead: I’m going to open a Fresh Fish Market, that’s what I’m going to do!

 DAD! Those brown eyes again . . . addled and chiming together: What’s that got to do with ….

Slipped off again, molding and shaping my thoughts, attempting to find the connection myself.

What DOES fish have to do with anything I’ve done to this point in life? Finally hit me, though; it’s simple, easy to miss and definitely not a linear thought, much less, a link, joining the various careers and projects and experiences of this journey I call, My Life.Most of which my three were born into and traveled through by my side.

The common thread weaving this old guy is that which we all share, the personal I am, unique to each one of us. Who we are in life is revealed by what we do in life. What chances taken, conventional or not; easy or difficult; painful or bursting with joy. The parallels are as myriad and diverse as the rest of life we share on this little planet-globe. I’ve been fortunate to know my share of what  happens when we step out, take chances, risks, find success or wallow in dark failure. For this, I am truly thankful.

Fresh Fish Market – Father’s Day – Me, 5’7” I am all that has gone before, am now, and embrace tomorrow. A very Happy Father's Day. How about you?




 Tuesday, March 27, 2012



Spring! Break out the grills, fire up the charcoal, or light the pilot, Grilling Season has arrived! Invite friends and family over to the house, break out your favorite food and drink, snacks and munchies (always healthy, of course!); visit your Local Farmer's Market, gather supplies, and fire up the grill, it's time to leave the kitchen inside and move outdoors!

 Let Ten Fresh Fish & Shellfish Skewer recipes initiate your grilling season and the distinctly inviting aroma of spices blended into marinades for Fresh Scallops, Large Shrimp, Fresh Sea Bass, Swordfish Cuts, Mahi-mahi cuts, Rain Forest Tilapia, Sausage and Greens lure the neighborhood down to your patio for the evening:

We prefer Wooden skewers, found in most stores, especially Franklin's the Kitchen Gourmet or Dillsboro's The Kitchen Shop.  Please note: you can substitute Ahuacatlan Avocado Oil in place of Olive Oil or Butter with any of these recipes, available in Sylva and Franklin Eric's Fresh Fish Market (click here).

 Buy, Fresh & Local Produce to incorporate into your meals! Family Traditions Farms, Glorious Jackson County Farmer's Market and the Shelton Family Farm

Click on each listing, embedded links open into a separate window!

1. Grilled Rosemary Salmon

2. Scallop and Cherry Tomato Skewers

3. Cilantro Lime Shrimp 

4. Spanish Shrimp & Sausage Skewers

5. Scallops Yakituri

6. Mango Chili Glazed Scallops

7. Salmon & Scallop Skewers

8. Grilled Swordfish Kabobs

9. Herbed Scallop Kebobs

10. Spicy Shrimp & Scallop Recipe


The Problem with Eating Farmed Fish

 Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I have to admit this commentary is biased, prejudiced; not in favor of eating farmed fish so much as in KNOWING who, what, where, and how the fish is farmed. Who raises this fish? What are they feeding their fish? Where and in what manner do they farm? Who determines what is fed and How are fish raised? So many questions, so much information, and such a challenge: What to buy?

Eric’s Fresh Fish Markets primarily sells Wild caught fish from our hemisphere. Much of what we carry varies weekly and season to season, as well as locale to locale. B/c we share a commitment w/ Inland Seafood to the environment and providing sustainable fish, nothing comes from over-fished sources or areas. For example; none of the Red Snapper comes from the Atlantic. Most comes from various areas in the Gulf, Central and South America.

Responsible fish farming is what we need to support, and discovering specific fisheries which follow healthy and sustainable practices promotes eating well but nurtures the future of eating healthy, fresh fish. A simple Google search, "the problem with eating farmed fish", opens a huge can of worms: 76 MILLION results in 0.29 seconds! That's a TON or two of articles, links, blogs, stories, and opinions! One site promotes healthy foods, belongs to an MD, another CNN news link posits the question: Is farmed fish as healthy as wild? Still another promotes, You are what your fish eat! The head reels . . .

EVERYBODY has an opinion about farmed fish. Some are valid, way too many are simply knee-jerk reactions. The solution is quite simple:


 We offer three farmed alternatives: a. Scottish Farmed Salmon (recently recognized as the Best Farmed Salmon in the World), b.Regal Farms Tilapia (aka Rain Forest Tilapia sourced from Bradenton, Florida, raised in a large Honduran lake, and c. Carolina Mountain Trout provides an exceptional local Rainbow Trout from nearby Andrews, NC, regulated by the North Carolina State Agricultural Commission.

Norma and I eat the same fish you purchase each week from Eric’s Fresh Fish Markets. We care about our bodies and strive to eat healthy. I opened the Fish Market b/c we wanted to eat healthier. Fresh Fish is a major contributor to any healthy diet.

  • Fresh Salmon, everybody's favorite! In addition to providing Wild Alaskan Salmon varieties, we’ve discovered the incredibly delicious Ocean-Farmed Salmon from Scottish Sea Farms. Scottish Salmon is grown in the pure waters of the west coast of Scotland and the northern isles of Shetland, where the wild currents of the North Atlantic Ocean create ideal conditions for rearing a first-class quality product. Scottish Quality Salmon is a delicious, highly nutritious food and an excellent source of essential Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin A, and a range of B vitamins, as well as the minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc, all of which are vital ingredients for a healthy balanced diet.
Regal Springs Rain Forest Tilapia. (click here) A sustainable aquaculture success story: Regal Farms Tilapia in Honduras (click here). Consistent taste, size, quality and price have made Rain Forest Tilapia a customer favorite in Eric's Fresh Fish Market. Farm-raised in freshwater lakes and reservoirs fed by pure mountain rainwater, Regal Springs Tilapia offers a consistently mild, but slightly sweet flavor. Delicious grilled, baked, sautéed, broiled or poached, Tilapia accepts sauces well and can be used in recipes calling for Snapper, Dover Sole, Cod, Haddock, Pompano, Flounder, Sea Bass, even Orange Roughy. The Nutritional Facts speak for themselves: A 3-oz serving of Tilapia contains up to 100 mg of omega-3. While other fatty fish may contain higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, Tilapia is still a better choice for Omega-3 than pork, poultry, or beef. Regal is HACCP certified, adheres to strict safety and quality standards; their Tilapia contains no antibiotics, no preservatives, and no growth hormones. Click Here for some Delicious Recipes!

  • Carolina Rainbow Trout! Each week, you'll discover Locally raised Fresh Rainbow Trout Fillets. Dressed Rainbow Trout can be ordered in advance. This delicious Regional favorite is farm-raised up the road in Andrews, N.C. by Carolina Mt. Trout, a fishery affiliated with the North Carolina State Cooperative Extension in Raleigh. Rainbow trout is an excellent meat group choice because it is lower in fat and calories than some foods from the meat group and is also a good source of many important nutrients. A 3-ounce serving of cooked rainbow trout contains 22 grams of protein and only 130 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, and 30 milligrams of sodium. Health conscious Americans should consider including rainbow trout in their diet. Whether you prepare and eat trout at home or at a restaurant, rainbow trout is a delicious, nutritious, and healthy choice.

Next time you wonder whether or not eating farmed fish is healthy for your body, sustainable, and raised in an eco-friendly environment, remember: KNOW YOUR  FARMED FISH SOURCES!


Quality Artists Workshops and Arts Come to the Blue Ridge Mountains: Cullowhee Mountain Arts

 Sunday, January 08, 2012


Quality Artist Workshops and Arts Programs Come to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina!

Cullowhee Mountain ARTS, an exciting new venture in our community, offers exceptional summer workshops in painting, drawing, printmaking, book arts, ceramics, photography and mixed media. Our distinguished faculty with national and international reputations will provide a weeklong immersion in their topic supplemented with lectures, demonstrations, or portfolio talks. Cullowhee Mountain ARTS is committed to supporting the personal and professional development of every artist whatever their level by providing the setting and facilities for intense learning, art making, shared in community. We believe that art enlivens community life and that in a supportive community art thrives best. Our summer programs will include public presentations and youth art camps. MORE

Come. Learn. Create. Collaborate.

Cullowhee Mountain Arts 2012 summer program will include an exciting range of workshops. Imagine yourself in a studio where other artists are exploring solar plate etching or monotype with new inks. Or learning about slabs and extrusions, forming pots you always wanted to make. Or learning plein air watercolor surrounded by majestic mountains and summer botanicals. Or making books as unconventional as ones’ imagination can conceive. And imagine that you will be sharing ideas and meals and outings with other artists from around the country. At Cullowhee Mountain ARTS you will find a like-minded community of passionate learners, energized by wonderful instructors where daily concerns are left behind. MORE

Art Nurtured in a Mountain Setting

Cullowhee Mountain ARTS summer programs are held on the campus of Western Carolina University, in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 45 miles west of Asheville, 25 miles from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and only 17miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Cullowhee Mountain ARTS believes the Arts energize every facet of community life. We know that when artists work and learn together ideas blossom and grow, lasting relationships are forged, and creative art flourishes.  We are committed to the idea that arts invigorate communities. When artists return to their own communities after our workshops, they bring their excitement, their imagination and new visions. Cullowhee Mountain ARTS was born out of a desire to support communities of artists and learning and to serve our community with art programs for adults and youth. More

To learn more, / 828-342-6913


2012: Failure is Not Trying

 Monday, January 02, 2012


Make no bones about it, this post is completely inspired by Aaron Lee's New Year's Blog, "Failure is Not Doing" (click here) which my daughter, Ahna, shared with me this morning. Go to the link, read his thoughts and comments (from both him and contributors) defining "Failure"; then watch the five minute video, "Running for my existence," about one man's commitment to run the Boston Marathon. Humbling and Inspiring at the same time, I find myself looking ahead to 2012 with expectation and a hunger for clarity on many levels professional and personal.

If you had told me back in the summer of '08 that 3 1/2 years from then, teaching at Western would be far in my past, a closed chapter, and my world would center around two fresh fish markets here in the mountains, I would've blinked and ... truly, not known what to say. 

 Yet, Life leads us down many roads, one journey, but inter-related paths that more often than not take us places we'd not initially anticipated, nor chosen; or perhaps, we really have chosen them? I don't know. Yet, the privilege, and joy, of the Fish Markets continues to remind me, Life is full of surprises, and steps of Faith are often taken without realizing them as such; we're simply doing what comes next and letting our paths reveal themselves as we move forward. Is that what faith really is?

Aaron Lee's inspiring post reminds we are building our own futures. What is failure? Is Failure good or bad? Necessary for one reason or another; an intrusion, unavoidable? Why does it even matter?

I once told my older brother during a bleak moment in his life that as long as you're trying, you can't fail. Was I right? That was long ago, so many rivers have passed under our bridges since then.

This morning, I got up --without any sense of New Year's Resolution in mind; besides, they're simply another opportunity to embrace guilt and shame when I get distracted-- got in my car, went to the track, and walked far doesn't matter, I stopped and walked and 2012 seems a little more promising.


Closing thoughts on 2011 . . .

 Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Seasons change, time presses forward, we spiral into the future, sometimes aware of the past as we let go and breathe in the fresh air full of hope and transformation. Other times simply falling asleep before the clock strikes 12 to awaken in a new age full of swirling opportunities and possibilities we did not dream of before midnight. Each thought requires another voice, each end becomes the new beginning to which we all aspire.

I am thankful for my soul, Norma, and the richness of relationships, friends, music and song, and my children, and of course, the gift of selling fresh fish -- in the Mountains of all places! More than fish, though, all the new people we are privileged to get to know and become friends with, exchange ideas, encourage, and listen to, and still: make music with, play guitar and sing, and learn new songs, trade songs, even write songs.

I guess this is what we call, Community. And for that, am thankful to reap the best from our communities linked by these mountain roads we travel every day going where we go, doing what we do.

 As last year's words belong to the past, 2012 seeks a new tongue to express itself, unanticipated blessings and changes and prospects patiently waiting to become reality. May each end you make be the richest of beginnings. ~Peace...


Cope's Newsstand Closing in Sylva and ...

 Monday, December 12, 2011


From last week’s The Sylva Herald: "Cope's Superette on Mill Street is closing after 49 years. Owner Tanya Calhoun said it's not because of the economy but because she's ready to something else. The store was started in 1962 by her father, Ed Cope, and Calhoun has owned it since her mother, Ann Cope, died in January 2006. She's closing the business rather than selling it because she doesn't want anyone else operating the store under her family's name, she said."

How can this closing, for whatever reasons are driving this decision, not be of concern for those of us invested in and living in our area? At the same time, I am reminded, 

Opportunities abound all around us . . . Cope’s closing strikes home on every level, it has truly become a community landmark in its 50 years existence. Whenever I give directions to Eric’s Fresh Fish Market Sylva location, most people already know where Cope’s is and where to get copies of the New York Times and local papers.It hurts to see them close. But, as a community, perhaps, we can find ways to reinvest and take over that INCREDIBLE! location, infuse our Sylva community?

I’ve been reading and passing around copies of Amy Cortese’s book, Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It.  (click here) since discovering it last spring when her brother, Pete Cortese (who cuts fish and works with Alice in Sylva) let me know his sister had just published a book. While the ideas presented in her book may not be that new, truth is, her research and examples and practical understanding of them, along with fresh ways and living examples to practice these time proven truths of community offer a blast of hope and fresh air, especially during these tough times.

From the back cover: “Locavesting is a call to rethink the way we invest, so that we support the small businesses that create jobs and healthy, resilient communities. Just as ‘Buy Local’ campaigns have found that a small shift in purchasing to locally–owned enterprises can reap outsized benefits for a local economy, so, too, can a small in our investment dollars.” 

From Cortese’s book, chapter 11, "From Brown Rice to Biofuels: Co-ops on the Cutting Edge," her first example is a local Micro- BREWERY (Heinzelmannchen’s ?) that has found success through community investment. Cortese defines Cooperatives as, "Cooperatives are associations run for the mutual benefit of their member-owners....Co-ops can be worker owned, consumer owned, producer owned, or buyer-owned associations--or sometimes a combination...." (161)

Considering the Cope’s location and other empty buildings and storefronts across our area, along with Cortese’s ideas presented in her book, "Locavesting", available @ Sylva’s City Lights Bookstore (click here) and Franklin’s Books Unlimited (click here), opportunities abound in our area to pool resources together, find ways to reinvest in our communities and re-energize our economic base.

I'd love to brainstorm with you re: this and other opportunities, to share resources and infuse our communities with new life. Tonya may not be closing b/c of business but we all know how difficult it is to make a living these days.

What do you think? (Post a Comment and/or Email Eric)


Year's Supply of Fresh Fish?

 Sunday, December 04, 2011



I remember the late 70s, living in Germany anticipating the coming Apocalypse, friends moving to the Mountains, living in abandoned castles in the dead of winter 79, stockpiling food, garnering resources, making plans to ride out the storm . . . apart from the fact this is a genuine offer, as noted: this offer wouldn't exist if folks weren't buying it. That's a lot of money up front, individual or group. Sam's Club is offering a "year's supply of food for 40 people" for only $ 29, 999.00! (click here) .

In today's tight economy what's amazing is that a major retailer like Sam's Club is offering this product (have heard Costco offers it too). They wouldn't unless someone was buying it.

Stay tuned, I'm working on one for Fresh Fish; always open to ideas! (Email Eric)