Sunday Farmers’ Market a Real Catch

You can always catch a deal at the Sunday farmers’ market. Now, you can catch your own fish.

Last week marked the arrival of Passmore Ranch, a sustainable fish farm from Sloughhouse. Crowds gathered to watch as owner Michael Passmore and ranch manager David Kunce gave “fresh” food new meaning. Instead of recently-caught, neatly filleted cuts of fish, the Passmore Ranch stall featured live fish, swimming happily in large tubs of water.

How does it work? Customers can step up to the booth, request a fish, and watch as the farmers make their catch with the mere scoop of a net. Your fish is weighed, tossed in a bag, and handed over to you, still flopping. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!

The fish selection last Sunday included fresh white surgeon, silver carp, catfish, and black bass. The price is reasonable at about $3 per pound. What a catch!

15 thoughts on “Sunday Farmers’ Market a Real Catch”

  1. I thought the state outlawed live-animal markets several years back? Is there some kind of loophole that these guys can exploit, while all the southeast Asian rabbit & fowl farmers are forced out?


  2. Moe is right, but apparently fish are excluded from this law, judging from the tanks of live fish I still see at a number of grocery stores. They’re just not allowed to kill and clean it in front of you like in the bad old days. Which brings up a lot of childhood memories of visits to the local Asian market where I would see a fish being scooped out of a tub, slapped onto a board and its head whacked off by with a huge cleaver.

    But pulling a live fish out of water and tossing it in a bag to suffocate to death also seems cruel. I think I’d rather abstain from this part of the market.


  3. I agree, killing it on-site seems more humane. I would probably bungle the attempt on my own and have a fish flopping around on the kitchen floor. Better than a headless chicken running about, though. I could chase a cow with a cleaver, but I’d probably lose.


  4. Hi Moe!

    Great question Moe!

    To clarify the article a bit for you. Passmore Ranch holds an aquaculture registration with the California Department of Fish game which allows us to raise and sell our fish. All of our fresh fish are transported live to the markets and displayed live. When one of our customers picks out the fish they would like, we then slaughter it with a tap on the head before packaging it and handing it to our customer. DFG prohibits us from providing a live fish to anyone other than another licensed aquaculturist (or someone holding a stocking permit). GreenBeet’s reference to a flopping fish is a reference to the autonomous functions of the fish after slaughter.

    Come by and see us Moe!

    PS: I cannot comment on rabbit and fowl farmers being forced out as I have no knowledge of this, but there is a farmer next to us in Stockton w/rabbit, chicken, and fowl if you are interested. Stop by and see them if you are looking for what they have!


  5. Hi Sundog!

    I agree with you. Suffocation seems cruel to me as well. The USDA has done a number of studies on the topic of fish euthanasia, slaughter, and killing (all relative terms depending on the purpose). Suffocation is not a generally approved practice.

    Feel free to ask any questions you may have, I am happy to answer and if by chance I do not know, I am happy to research an answer for anyone!

    i am new to this forum so I am unsure if I will get notifications of a reply. Thus, if you don;t hear from me here, feel free to post up on our page at


  6. Hey Matt – great seeing you here! Davis ranch and Plaza are both on my radar to speak to. Next time you are in, feel free to mention that you would like to see us there!


  7. I need to amend my comment: state law still allows markets to sell live animals—animals meaning turtles, frogs, and birds (no mention of rabbits at all)—but it’s ramped up the regulations regarding the treatment of the animals. When I was in San Francisco last weekend however, I noticed the cages of ducks and chickens and tubs of turtles were gone from the food markets in Chinatown: so the law must have had the effect of discouraging the sales of live livestock for meat.

    @PassmoreRanch-I’m glad you do kill the fish before you wrap it up for someone’s dinner. It beats my dad’s method of tossing his freshly-caught fish into the beer cooler, where they slowly ice to death.


  8. These guys are pros! They definitely didn’t let my little fish suffocate. You should definitely see it for yourself.


  9. Hey Moe – great news for you! Get down to the Stockton Farmers Market my friend! I went and spoke to the farmer you have interest in. She had rabbit, hens, roosters, baby chickens, rabbits, ducks, and dove – plenty of all! Come on down if you are looking for this!


  10. Don’t forget- you can still get (almost free on some days!) puppies, kittens, turtles, hamsters, iguanas and/or chinchillas. Check your SPCA/ local county shelter’s web site.


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