After they’re pulled from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, stone crab claws are immediately steamed and transported to Cod & Capers, a North Palm Beach seafood market that has been family-owned and -operated since 1984, before making their final stop at PB Catch, where chef Aaron Black likes to serve them chilled and paired with a light salad.
To the delight of diners and the planet, the dish is a model of sustainability, exquisite in its simplicity: stone crabs are sourced from our own waters, only available seasonally, and require minimal processing. The best part? After the claws are harvested, the stone crabs are returned to the ocean, still alive, where they are able to regenerate their lost claw(s).
As demonstrated by his focus on ethical sourcing and low-waste cooking methods, Black is an outstanding advocate of sustainable seafood practices. At PB Catch, he strives to use the whole fish—either as an entree or by recycling oft-discarded elements into new dishes like a fish-cheeks appetizer or simmering up a rich stock or broth. The catch of the day, of course, depends on what the boats haul in each afternoon.
“Sustainability is working,” says Black. “Over the past 10 years, price has become consistent as well as average size and health of fish received; both are indicators that local populations are being well managed. It is now up to consumers to continue to support restaurants that are sourcing responsibly.”
Organic vs. Eco-Friendly: Which is more sustainable?
Not all organic is created equal. A food can be certified organic—meaning it was “grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal-raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives,” per the USDA—without being earth-friendly. Some organic crops require excessive land and rely on nonrenewable energy sources, leaving behind a heavy production and packaging footprint.
Still, according to Columbia University’s Earth Institute, “organic farming is widely considered to be a far more sustainable alternative when it comes to food production.” When possible, eat what’s in season, cut down on transportation emissions by purchasing food grown within 100 miles, opt for glass over plastic (or skip nonreusable containers altogether), and forgo meat.