Vendor: Pietro and Joan Paravannos
Location: Half Moon Bay, CA
Products: Fresh fish and seafood
PAFM vendor since 1987
Anyone who has seen the long line at PAFM in front of Joan and Pietro Paravannos’ fish stand has got to assume that they’re doing something – or everything – right. The pair sell king salmon, Dungeness crabs, halibut, pacific snapper, smoked king salmon, and albacore tuna, caught fresh and sustainably from their boat, the F/V Anne B, a 36’ wood boat that weighs eleven tons and is berthed at Pillar Point Harbor, just north of Half Moon Bay, where Joan and Pietro live.
The two have been fishing and selling their catch since 1980. Originally, “sales of fish went to restaurants, grocery stores, households, and hospital employees. Pietro would call Joan (who was working as an emergency room nurse and supervisor) from the boat and report how many fish were caught. Joan would then establish an order for the day’s catch and Pietro would deliver” the orders at 11pm.
In 1985, Pietro found his current boat, the F/V Anne B, in Brookings, Oregon. He wanted a boat that would allow him to stay out fishing for a longer time than the boat he was then working on. The Anne B was not running when Pietro saw it, but he was attracted to its spirit and bought it anyway. It turned out that all Anne B needed was a new set of batteries!
In 1987, Joan and Pietro started at PAFM, with “Joan selling Dungeness crabs out of the trunk of the old family Mercedes.” They were new to Market practices. They remember: “someone suggested that [Joan] have a sign describing what she was selling and the price.” They gradually expanded their offering. “The first time that we sold albacore tuna, we brought a Weber kettle grill. We cooked the albacore tuna and handed out samples to the customers, and they went wild over the taste.”
Customer reaction continues in the same positive vein. Says Pietro, customers return for the “quality, consistency, sustainably harvested products, and the nutritional benefits.”
The Parravanos have taken their commitment to sustainability a step further. “In 1989, we were involved in the start-up of a salmon cooperative which helped start many fishermen to pursue selling at Farmers’ Markets. The goal for the cooperative was freshness, quality, and identity.”
What do Joan and Pietro find special about PAFM? “Each week, one can taste, see, and smell the different products that the vendors sell. It is a sensual picture that changes each week. The people are very kind, supportive, and thankful. We have been acquainted with many special friends over the years.”