If there’s one thing Florida does better than anywhere else, it’s mullet. No not the hairstyle, though we do have quite a few of those, but the delicious local fish that in recent years has had a resurgence in popularity. Due to its bottom-feeder status, the humble mullet used to be thought of as a lowbrow fish, with some, even daring to call it the “rat of the sea.” However, times change and this fish, which is indigenous to the Gulf Coast is having a moment in food. Many restaurants like Captain Joey Patti’s Seafood are focusing on the freshest local ingredients and mullet happens to be one of those. Indigenous to the Gulf Coast, mullet thrives in both saltwater and freshwater, often abundant in the brackish water of Florida’s estuaries.

Where Not To Eat Mullet

However, if you’re not in the clean clear waters of the Gulf Coast, you might not want to order mullet off the menu. This fish in particular is a bottom feeder, ingesting the nutrients found in the mud on the seafloor of whatever environment they are living in. They process this mud through a complicated system of intestines that extract the nutrients from their food. So, if the mullet is ingesting mud from a polluted source, like a busy harbor or port, the things that they are going to be extracting from their environment are heavy metals and dangerous chemicals. Furthermore, mullet mature incredibly slowly by small fish standards. They take roughly 10 years to mature to breeding age and only weigh in at 3 pounds at that age. Some of the larger ones can be up to 20 years old. If your mullet isn’t caught in clean, safe waters, it’s likely that they’ve been ingesting all kinds of things that you don’t want for an incredibly long time.

Eating Local Is Good For The Body And Mind

The importance of eating fresh, locally sourced food cannot be overstated. Not only are you getting the food faster, which eliminates the need for nasty chemical preservatives, but by buying local food you’re supporting the community of food producers closest to home. These are your neighbors, friends, and faces that you see everyday. When you support them, you help to create a world that values local high-quality food, food that you’ll feel better about eating.

The Gulf Coast Is The Best Place To Eat Mullet, Period.

Locals have described mullet as a fish with mystical properties and once you try it, you’ll understand why we dedicate one of the biggest beach parties in the country to this simple little fish. There are tons of ways that you’ll love to cook up fresh Gulf Coast mullet. Locals like it smoked, in a creamy dip served with crackers, or simply pan fried or blackened. When you eat local mullet from the Gulf Coast, you can almost taste the crystal clear, sparkling blue waters that it was raised in. On top of that you can talk to your local fisherman about where it came from, see the boats that go out each day and fish for it, and know that you’re getting a fresh, local, fish that you can trust.