MAINE, USA — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above aired May 3, 2022.
Back in May, NEWS CENTER Maine's Hannah Yechivi introduced us to monkfish stew. Now, a few months later, that stew is being sold on Hannaford shelves, with proceeds going toward fresh fish for people experiencing food insecurity in Maine.
Maine Coast Monkfish Stew, produced by the nonprofit Maine Coast Fisherman's Association, is a combination of monkfish and locally-sourced vegetables in a light, creamy base. It includes Maine potatoes, carrots, cream, and lobster stock.
To make the stew, the association buys the monkfish from Maine fishermen at a fair price, then it's all cut at Free Range Fish & Lobster in Portland. From there, it's made into the stew by a food manufacturer out of Greene called Hurricane's Premium Soup & Chowder.
"It's pretty easy to sell because it tastes great and customers keep coming back for it," Cullen Burke of Free Range Fish & Lobster said. "It comes in a bag that you can cook it right in, so a guy like me, I get home late from work, I just throw it in a pot of boiling water and 15 minutes later I've got dinner."
The stew is now available in Hannaford stores throughout southern Maine, including Falmouth, Kennebunk, North Windham, Yarmouth, and York, with plans underway to expand availability to other Hannaford locations in the future, according to a release from Hannaford on Monday.
Hannaford said proceeds from sales of the stew are earmarked for the purchase of fresh fish from local fishermen. That fish will then be donated to area food pantries to help combat food insecurity in Maine communities as part of the Fishermen Feeding Mainers Program, which the MCFA launched during the height of the COVID pandemic as a way to combat food insecurity in local communities.
"We encourage customers who have not yet discovered monkfish to try this new stew while knowing their purchase supports both our local fishermen and community members in need," Hannaford Supermarkets Seafood Category Manager Nathan Jewell said in Monday's release.
Mary Hudson, director of fisheries programs for the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, said they chose to highlight monkfish to re-introduce this seafood option to Mainers in a tasty way.
"There is a very undersized market for it, locally. Most of the monkfish that the guys are catching are shipping over to South Korea and other places overseas," Hudson told NEWS CENTER Maine in May. "So we really want to promote that seafood and try to get more of a local market and make people aware of monkfish. It's a very sustainable fishery. There is a lot of them out there. It's cleanly caught, and it's a very healthy protein."