Shad Fest celebrates Delaware River's past

    With the arrival of spring, shad return to the Delaware River. There was a time when literally tons of the oceangoing fish would come up the river to spawn in March and April, but shad are rare these days. A festival in Fishtown on Saturday revives the culinary pleasures of shad and explains why they don’t run anymore.

    With the arrival of spring, shad return to the Delaware River. There was a time when literally tons of the oceangoing fish would come up the river to spawn in March and April, but shad are rare these days. A festival in Fishtown on Saturday revives the culinary pleasures of shad and explains why they don’t run anymore.

    The traditional way to eat a shad is split it open, nail it to a board and hold it against an open fire. That’s how they did it 200 years ago before mills, factories, and oil refineries made the Delaware inhospitable to the fish. George Fisher is a retired doctor and longtime fan of shad. He says what used to be the cheapest fish in town is now nearly impossible to find.

    Photo from FishtownShadFest.org

    Fisher: The meat is infiltrated with a lot of little bones, and simply inedible as such. You have to take the bones out, and you have to have be trained without ruining the fish. There aren’t many people who know how to do that anymore.

    Along with the usual vendors and musical performances at this weekend’s Shad Fest, environmental groups will be on hand to explain how overdevelopment along the river crippled the shad population.

    More information:
    And Now, Five Things We’ve Been Meaning To Tell You About Shadfest
    (04/24/09) Philebrity

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