We traveled to the vibrant city of Reykjavik, Iceland to visit our partner, IceMar. Although remotely settled on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is only a few hours by plane from New York City. And given the country’s commitment to sustainable fishing practices and its abundance of wild-caught species, there is no better source in the world.
IceMar was founded by three brothers, Sturla, Teitur, and Gunnar Örlygsson, inspired by their father who was a fisherman himself. It was built on a respect for the plentiful Icelandic waters and a passion for providing only the freshest fish to their customers. Each morning, their boats go out to sea, manned by just two fishermen per vessel. They return in the evening with hundreds of pounds of wild cod to be flown out by Icelandair and into New York the very next day. In fact, the plant where the fish is cut, iced, and packed is located only 15 minutes from the airport. This smart operation enables us to offer our customers fresh, sustainable cod while also ensuring the preservation of Iceland’s resources for generations to come.
Just off the coast of Keflavik, a small fishing village in Southwest Iceland, we set out on one of IceMar’s boats for a day with Gunnar, who showed us the fishing ropes. Gunnar set out the long lines into the water, dressed with 1,680 baited hooks and let them work their magic. We watched as each fish was pulled out of the water and set on ice below deck. After a successful day of fishing, Gunnar told us stories from the sea all the way back to shore, sharing the wisdom he has learned from generations of Icelandic fisherman before him.
IceMar services some of the top restaurants in Iceland, and delivers to countries including Spain, France and now, to our doors at FreshDirect—their first and only fresh customer in the U.S. But it’s not just fresh cod that we’re importing from Iceland; our other offerings include dover sole, flounder, arctic char, and the Icelandic delicacy, langoustine.
If you’re in need of a little dinner inspiration, we suggest adding cod to the menu. Its flaky, white flesh is mild, delicate, and lends itself to any cooked method or flavor you prefer. We recommend this simple, seven-step recipe that steams up your fillet in the oven in minutes. Your taste buds will thank you.
We’re honored to be part of a centuries’ old tradition and to have a partner that continues to be a responsible steward of the oceans. Our hope is for you to share in that partnership each time you take a seat around the dinner table. Providing the source of your ingredients is our promise to you, combined with a delicious meal that you’ll want to make again and again.
Watch our sourcing trip and learn more about cod and langoustine:
Post written by our seafood buyer Brittney Bullock, pictured above with seafood merchant Michael Kanter, fisherman Borgthor (Boggi), and Gunnar Örlygsson of IceMar.