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Here at Real Good Fish, we have over a hundred wonderful site hosts who offer community pick-up locations to our members across the country. Their support and dedication in helping us share our love of sustainable seafood with folks like you help us keep local seafood accessible & affordable enhancing our communities. We’re starting a new series where you can meet some of our hosts for a deeper dive into how they became members and some of their favorite stories over the years! This week, we’re chatting to Kym Morello, who hosts our community pickup location from her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California.
How long have you been Real Good Fish members, and how did you first hear about them?
We are original members from when they first started back in 2012! Back before Alan was married and a father, I was going to yoga at a winery in Boulder Creek, and one of the girls there told us she was doing a fish co-op, and if anyone wants to sign up, you can get weekly fish deliveries. I wondered, “What is this all about?”. So, I signed up and called Alan—at this time, it was just him—and we started chatting, and I mentioned I would want to be a site host. He said if I could get a few folks to sign up, I could start as a host myself. And so there you have it! I guess you could call us original site hosts!
It’s been really fun to see the company grow and see how much Alan’s life has changed—falling in love, getting married, and having a baby! It’s been wonderful.
Since your house is your pickup site, it must be interesting to see all the different members who have joined you over the years?
At our community pickup site, we have a decent amount of people signed up and find that it does change here and there. We have some original members from when we first started and a handful of people that come and go depending on the season. They may pause for several months or even a couple of years—and then they'll join back up! We’ve found that during the pandemic, it's increased the number of members and interest. It’s been enjoyable to see those changes and the variety too. At certain times, Alan has offered chicken and other farm-raised meats. So much has changed and evolved throughout the years. It’s been so fun to be a part of it.
Were you a seafood connoisseur before you heard about Real Good Fish years ago, or was getting involved something that enabled you to become more informed about sustainability?
I have a degree in Horticulture and worked as a landscape designer and beekeeper for many years, so it was the perfect segue. Living in Santa Cruz, we’re all very aware of sustainability and its importance for our planet and the future. Even going back to my grandparents, I've been aware of how important it is to eat organic and how we should avoid pesticides and that sort of thing.
In the beginning, when we first started with Real Good Fish, it was super-local. As in, just from Santa Cruz waters. And a couple of times, I have been a part of a brainstorming team, and the question was, “What IS local to you?” Here we are in California, which is a huge state. So then, what IS local? Is it the entire Pacific Ocean? Is it just off our shores? But then that limits the variety of fish you can get—and you want folks to be interested and try new things. So then, the catch area included the entire coast of California, and we were able to try such an incredible variety of fish and seafood. And now, it’s so great they have partnered on the East Coast!
Do you have any favorite species over the years that you look forward to getting in your box or your delivery?
We’re big fans of halibut and salmon—they are so delicious. The Ahi Tuna we have is also so good. We really love that and even served it this year for Easter dinner.
At your site and community pickup, how do you present the fish? Do you have any added flair that you like to use to surprise members?
Oh, we have lots of flair—we’re a little over the top! In the beginning, we would serve wine, which was fun! (It may have been a little too much of a party for a Tuesday!) Nowadays, we pack all of the seafood from the boxes in a cooler with ice for our members. We have a sandwich board out, a sign that we hang with a list of what fish is available that day. It’s all right inside our gate with an arbor and lights above it, so if folks come to pick it up at night, they can see everything they need.
We’re one street off the main street, too, so we get a lot of foot traffic. I have cards out there for folks to take. If I have lemons on my tree, I will put out a basket of those for people to take. In the summer, I’ll add fresh basil, limes, or even lavender. One of our members is the horticulture and hydroponics teacher at the Junior High- and Highschool, so they have a large garden up there. When Covid hit, there was no place for the produce to go because none of the Farmers Markets were open. So we had all of the produce here, and every week, people could just help themselves to any number of things—greens, lettuce, herbs, any number of items. It was really fun! I love it when it’s like that. Sort of a bounty of things to share.
Do you find you have a pretty diverse group of people in your group of members?
Yes, we’re lucky to have a diverse group of people who come to pick up with us. We have one family (that are original members with us) where grandma and the young family with their children share their seafood and fish, and they all cook together on that night. It’s adorable. It brings a sense of community, I think more so than the CSA programs. In the summer, we often say, “Hey, bring your portion of fish, and you can throw it on the grill here.” I’ll throw together a salad from the garden, someone will bring bread, and we’ll sit in the backyard, and we’ll all have our fish together. It’s an excellent way to connect; it’s lovely!
Interesting in becoming a site host at your home or business? Learn more & sign up for additional information HERE.