Red’s Best imports fish from Cape Cod, New Bedford, the North and South shores, Martha’s Vineyard, and Portsmouth, N.H.

Photos by Olivia Falcigno

Campus & Community

From sea to dining hall table

Harvard partners with fishmonger to dish up fresh, local meals on a large scale

2 min read

Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) serves an estimated 25,000 meals a day. At that scale, meeting its mission to dish up fresh, healthy food requires creativity. One way it is working to achieve that goal is through a partnership with local fish wholesaler Red’s Best that puts fresh seafood on students’ and faculty members’ plates twice a week. Fish processed at Red’s Best pier in the Seaport District early in the morning is prepared that same day by HUDS chefs and served for dinner on Wednesday and lunch Friday. On a recent Wednesday, Red’s delivered 900 pounds of swordfish for just one dinner. The Gazette follows the catch of the day from pier to plate.

Imports range from clams and oysters to swordfish and salmon, depending on the season. Harvard’s order is prepared fresh the day of delivery at Red’s pier in the Seaport District.
The process starts early in the morning as workers gut fish.
When HUDS receives an order from Red’s, it varies based on that day’s catch. Students could be served swordfish for dinner Wednesday, and on Friday, haddock for lunch. This method of sustainable fishing fits HUDS’ mission to reduce food waste. Above, a stack of freshly caught redfish lies at the pier.

On a recent Wednesday, Harvard students were served a lemon-crusted swordfish, roasted broccoli with lemon zest, and local butternut squash. Here, chefs prepare the squash for roasting, and Chef Louis Mauer puts squash in the oven. When possible, HUDS uses fruits and vegetables in season.

Squash is served on a hot plate at Dunster House.

Chefs roast breadcrumbs.

While the sides are being prepared, the chefs slice the swordfish, which is seasoned with salt, pepper, oil, and lemon.

Chefs lightly sear the swordfish before finishing it in the oven. It is plated with chopped parsley, lemon, and red bell peppers.

Students help themselves at Annenberg Hall, Harvard’s largest first-year dining hall.

Side dishes round off the plate.

Annenberg Hall at dinner time.