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. Our team traveled to Reykjavik, the country’s capital, to visit our partner, IceMar.
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 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 serves some of the top restaurants in Iceland, and delivers to countries including Spain and France. FreshDirect is their first fresh customer in the U.S. In addition to cod, we’re also importing wild-caught haddock and flounder thanks to our close relationship with Gunnar and his team.
Wondering how to prepare these fish in a way that highlights their pristine flavor and freshness? Wild-caught haddock, cod, and flounder has flaky, white flesh that is mild, delicate, and lends itself to any cooked method or flavor you prefer. But one of the best and easiest ways to prepare it (and our favorite) is baked on a sheet pan, like in this much-shared recipe of ours. Or, in the cooler months, a simple cod soup is tremendously satisfying.
It’s an honor to be part of the centuries’ old tradition that IceMar represents 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 when 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.
Post written by Brittney Bullock, Seafood Merchandising Manager at FreshDirect