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Jeff Barnouw | Amphitheatre Drive

Jason Froehlich.
Photo Fabian Huertas.
Click to enlarge.

If you’ve been to Farmers Market, you’ve seen him. If you go often, you may know him well. Jason Froehlich, fishmonger, has been coming to our market and others as a vendor for twenty years, the longest tenure there and (he thinks) at any local market. He’s 32 years old. Yes, he started at age 12. He was living in Vista. His mother told him to find a job, so he went over to the nearby farmers market, where he approached Mark Lewis at the seafood stall. Mark told him, “You’re hired.”

Mark Lewis was the fish man at DMFM when I started going back in the late ‘80s. I liked to speak French with him, an immigrant from Casablanca, Morocco. In 1986 DMFM was founded and Mark founded Dry Dock Fish in Fullerton. Jason works for them, since circa 1998-99. Their business model relies on a single small shop in Fullerton and outlets (stalls) at many farmers markets, some 30 from Hillcrest up to Thousand Oaks.

Jason lives in Carlsbad and visits five or six farmers markets per week, Pacific Beach on Tuesday, Carlsbad on Wednesday, Oceanside on Thursday, Poway and Del Mar on Saturday, and Hillcrest on Sunday. Since he’s been doing it reliably for so long, they have a driver for the last couple of years who brings the fish down to him from Fullerton.

He says he loves this job so much it doesn’t seem like work. He’s gotten to know so many customers well. He didn’t like fish until he tasted the fresh samples that Mark grilled for farmers market customers. Not surprisingly, he loves seafood now, and cooks it about four times a week, his favorites being scallops and branzino. He’s writing a recipe book, to be called Farmers Market Finds, which he hopes will come out before the end of 2019.



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