Sword boat captain and New York Times best-selling author Linda Greenlaw has teamed up with swordfish and tuna distributor Great Oceans, LLC to create Linda Greenlaw Select® brand fresh sword and tuna. The partnership aims to provide the highest quality fish available, harvested with environmentally friendly methods to sustain the fisheries while promoting healthier diets rich in seafood.
Linda Greenlaw Select® swordfish and tuna was first made available to select supermarkets, restaurant supply chains and fish markets throughout the U.S. and Canada beginning in January. However, according to Greenlaw, “it was really launched at the Boston International Seafood Show a few weeks ago. We had a lot of enthusiastic interest at the show, but we have to see what shakes out. We are really at the ground floor of this project,” she said.
Great Oceans CEO Don Intonato agreed. “We had a great show in Boston,” he said. “I think [Greenlaw’s] going to do very well with it. Both our suppliers and customers are very enthusiastic about the fact that she’s partnered with us. She’s just wonderful to work with,” he said. “She brings enthusiasm and I think everyone can see that.”
Greenlaw is excited about her latest project because “branding of a fresh product is very unusual,” she said. “No one is doing it.” Great Oceans, the largest supplier and distributor of swordfish and tuna in the U.S., had been thinking of branding fresh fish, which hadn’t been done before. “We needed a celebrity like Linda,” said Intonato. “She’s been fishing for a long time and she’s been a captain for a long time. We thought this was something that was the future,” he said. According to Intonato, the benefit of branding a fresh product is primarily for retail business. Great Oceans has facilities in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Maryland and Boston. They had been doing a lot of retail business at their Boston location in particular. “We felt it would be an attraction to retailers to have a brand because that’s what they’re used to,” said Intonato. “Like any brand, it gives an assurance of quality.”
During the 2010 swordfish season, Greenlaw had a deal with Hannaford supermarkets in which they sold the fish she caught aboard the Hannah Boden under the “Linda Greenlaw” brand. Greenlaw said that was a great experience, but admitted it was very limited. “It was very successful, but it’s difficult to land fish on a rigid schedule,” she said.
Great Oceans intends to sell only the very highest quality, Top of the Trip® fish under the Linda Greenlaw name. “Only a fairly small percentage of a trip would meet the quality standards,” said Greenlaw. Great Oceans grades their fish three times, a standard unequaled in the industry; at the dock, upon arrival at the warehouse and again at Great Oceans headquarters for taste in their test kitchen. According to Intonato, Linda Greenlaw Select® is sashimi grade fish, appropriate for white tablecloth restaurants. Greenlaw will not be the sole provider of Linda Greenlaw Select® fish. Great Oceans imports sword and tuna from fishermen all over the world in order to provide the freshest fish year round.
In order to achieve the third part of their mission, promoting healthier diets rich in seafood, Greenlaw is currently working on creating a new website for Linda Greenlaw Select®, as well as an app. The app “is in the idea stages, but it’s time to put the wheels in motion,” she said. “It fits in nicely with everything I am doing. I will promote things I know about; fisheries in Maine I know are sustainable. Maine lobster is a perfect example of a fishery that has been really well managed.” Greenlaw intends to include information such as recipes on her website and app. “Instructions on how to prepare seafood go a long way to educating people,” she said. “If [consumers] buy something they like and prepare it well, they will buy it again. If it’s poor quality, or they don’t know how to prepare it, they won’t. At the end of the day, it’s about increasing seafood consumption. It’s good for the fishermen and good for the population.”