School Food Protest, La Fondita Opens, and Tilefish and Asparagus Look Good

Tilefish, an underused local species, is in the case at Hampton Seafood Company and other seafood shops.

A selective roundup of what food’s in the news, in season and in business.

Sag Harbor. Sag Harbor continues to be a hotbed of edible activity. The school board is considering rolling back food buying standards to allow for high fructose corn syrup and other suspicious ingredients for the cafeteria to the chagrin of parents and community members, who are signing a petition. And the DEC closed Sag Harbor’s waters to shellfishing after saxitoxin, which can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, was found in oysters raised by a local marina owner. This is the first detection of this toxin, which has been found farther UpIsland, in Peconic Bay, and, along with the deadzone in Shinnecock Bay, points to the threats to our local water quality.

East Hampton. Baymen continue to lobby for their survival, including filing for endangered status with the Preservation League of New York State, a tactic that they hope will ease escalating regulations and costs; the tactic has been used with varying success by other traditional trades and occupations.

Restaurants. Work continues at The Bell & Anchor, scheduled to open in May, with sister restaurant the Beacon set for a mid-May opening. La Fondita in Amagansett is now open (Wednesday-Sunday), rolling out several exciting tweaks this season, including buying only natural or organic meat and making their own tortillas (for sale by the kilo, we hope). Asparagus is showing up at the Sag Harbor farmers market, at the early-opening farmstands and as a side on many restaurant menus.

Seasonal seafood. Stuart’s in Amagansett still has bay scallops for sale, while Colin Mather at the Seafood Shop in Wainscott says tilefish, monkfish, flounder and scallops are among the most abundant local catches right now. Hampton Seafood Company on Race Lane is offering tilefish, as well as some huge porgies (pushing 4 and 5 pounds, and jokingly called “oven stuffer roasters” or “simply monsters,” according to the gentleman working the counter), crunchy scallop rolls with bay scallops, as well as an impressive selection of Mali B’s array of town-specific chocolate bars, including sea salt and caramel popcorn in the Sag Harbor bar and potato chips in the Sagaponack bar. They are available here and make perfect gifts.