Meet Janet: The Mom of Whidbey Seafoods
Meet Janet, the extraordinary mother of our co-founders, Andrew and Adam, here at Whidbey Seafoods. Janet brings a wealth of experience and passion for marine biology and seafood to our team. Her journey is both inspiring and enlightening, from her time on Alaskan fishing boats to her culinary talents and commitment to sustainable seafood practices. Discover the wisdom and insights of this remarkable woman who has greatly influenced the values and principles of our Whidbey Seafoods.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and your journey into the world of seafood and marine biology?
I developed a taste for seafood in my early years, but it was a few adventures in trying various foods that truly opened up my palate. It was then that I fell in love with seafood. Considering my affinity for water and the outdoors since childhood, pursuing a career in marine biology seemed like a natural choice.
You spent a few seasons on the boat in Alaska. What was that experience like, and what did you learn from it?
Spending time on Alaskan fishing boats was one of the highlights of my life. It reinforced my love for the wilderness and my deep connection with observing nature. During this time, I learned the invaluable lesson that I could adapt to any situation without the trappings of modern society. I also came to understand that most people who work in nature's elements have an incredible respect and care for their environment.
You’re a fantastic cook. What are your favorite seafood dishes to prepare, and do you have any secret family recipes you'd be willing to share?
I believe in sharing recipes and don't keep any secrets. There isn't a particular favorite I like to cook; it depends on my mood and the people I'm cooking for. However, I have a soft spot for my king crab rolls. Growing up in New England, lobster rolls were a beloved delicacy. When we moved to the PNW and began fishing, I started making crab rolls with these New England-style hot dog buns, which we'd carry back from the East Coast in our suitcases. Our family members would even send the buns to us. The secret to great food is the quality of the ingredients.
As someone with a background in marine biology, how does your knowledge influence your approach to seafood sourcing and sustainability?
Having a background in marine biology taught me to see things from a logical and scientific perspective, focusing on cause and effect. While my academic background helps, it's my experiences out on the water and fishing boats that provide a real-world understanding of what's happening and how fishing should be approached.
How do you envision the future of sustainable seafood practices and the role Whidbey Seafoods will play in shaping it?
The path to "sustainable" seafood may encounter challenges due to political factors that often don't align with the reality of our oceans. Whidbey Seafoods will remain steadfast in its policies and beliefs, continually educating themselves and their customers about responsible seafood choices, creating a ripple effect that contributes to a more sustainable seafood future.
You're a familiar face at the Farmers Market during the summer season. What do you enjoy most about connecting with customers and sharing your passion for seafood?
I'm not naturally skilled with people, but it was enlightening to connect with customers on a more personal level, understanding their choices, sharing recipes, and sifting through information. It all comes down to appreciating their passion for healthy eating. Of course, receiving positive feedback from our local customers was always heartwarming, and it was a great feeling when they praised my sons.
How do you find working alongside your sons, Andrew and Adam, as co-owners of Whidbey Seafoods? Are you proud of what they've achieved in the seafood industry?
I don't see myself as working alongside my boys; I'm here to support them and give them a "hand up." As a parent, witnessing your children chase their dreams is the most rewarding feeling. I'm grateful to communicate with them and share their passions. I'm incredibly proud of their work ethic, honesty, creativity, and ethics – what more could a parent ask for?
What do you believe sets Whidbey Seafoods apart from other seafood providers, both in terms of product quality and sustainable practices?
What sets Whidbey Seafoods apart is their dedication to customer service, their unwavering passion, and their commitment to their philosophy. They practice what they preach, and the proof of their quality is in the taste of their products, which is closely tied to their responsible fishing practices.
Are there any seafood varieties or specialties that you think are underrated and deserve more attention from seafood enthusiasts?
Many wonderful fish species often go unnoticed, and some should remain outside commercial fisheries to preserve their populations. Some commercially underrated species include rockfish and certain flatfishes like flounders and soles.