Holy Mackerel ... It's a Fresh Fish Market In Landlocked Vermont!
By Marianne L. Kelly

When one thinks of freshly caught lobster, scallops, mako shark, mahi mahi and
other fresh salt water fish, landlocked Vermont does not immediately come to
mind. But one visit to Holy Mackerel in Fairlee, Vermont, quickly dispels that
notion. Here tuna is not found in cans, but in wonderfully fresh steaks.

Located in -- of all places -- a Citgo station on Route 5, owners Peg DeGoosh
and Jim Macdonald have turned a drab gas station and convenience store into a
clean sparkling fish market that has become a popular spot for people who like
to know where their fish comes from, and is as fresh as possible.

DeGoosh, a Bradford native,
and former psychologist,
comes by her food service
by working at the Fairlee Diner ...
and has been in food service most
of her life.  “Food service has
always been a major part
of my life,” says DeGoosh.

Fish has also been a big part
of her life: She co-owned a fishing
business out of Port Judith,
Rhode Island for 24 years with
her former husband. She  returned to Vermont, where, through mutual friends,
she met Jim, a Woodsville native who owns a construction company and once
pitched for the Houston Astros in their AAA division.

“We talked about our dreams, and after many conversations, decided it would
be a great idea to open a local fresh fish market,” says DeGoosh.

They started by selling fresh fish from one of DeGoosh's mother’s catering
trucks. While trying to decide whether to open a store or sell from a refrigerated
truck, they were approached by a member of the Evans Company, who told
them the Citgo space was available.

“I am thrilled by the way we’ve been received in the community,” says
DeGoosh. “At first people were curious about us and came to see the fresh fish
market in their local gas station. We now have many local regulars as well as
people who come from as far away as East Corinth and Barre. We are seeing
more new customers as word spreads.”

Fresh Fish From Boston

“I make two or three trips to Boston every week, depending on the demand,”
says DeGoosh. In addition to supplying her own store with fresh seafood, she
also supplies local restaurants and caterers.

She receives a fax each day with available fish and prices, and works mainly
with one house to offer a variety of seafood each week to her customers. “I have
a fair idea of what I will be ordering and the prices before I go.”  

In addition to familiar fish such as sole, shrimp and scrod, Holy Mackerel offers
the more exotic: Mahi mahi, snapper and mako shark. Lobster is also plentiful
(you can choose your own and they will steam it while you wait). Add some
Holy Mackerel steamers, clam chowder, rounded out by fresh corn on the cob,
and you have a “do it yourself” clam bake. For scallop lovers, Holy Mackerel’s
scallops are exquisitely tender and sweet.

In addition to fresh fish from the case, customers can also buy freshly frozen
uncooked or pre-cooked jumbo shrimp, crab meat, calamari and other seafood.
Alaskan king crab legs are always available, as is their own clam chowder.

For those “on the go,” Holy Mackerel offers deli sandwiches, fish and chips,
clam and lobster rolls, scallop dinners, fish nuggets, burgers and fries, freshly
baked goods, and coffee as well as daily specials.

“Jim is an excellent cook and an awesome grill man with a real flair for grilling
and marinades,” says DeGoosh, adding, “We have our own special herbs and
oils that we use for marinating. She also laughingly adds: “Jim knew nothing
about fish before we met.”

Although they do not yet personally cater, they are licensed and offer special
platters for holiday parties and other events.

Holy Mackerel is located at Main and Bridge Streets in Fairlee. For more
information call: (802) 333-9286.

About the author: Marianne Kelly, a freelance writer, journalist and poet, has written
travel articles for Inn Traveler Magazine and other travel publications, and is the author
of The Madd Irishman Cookbook...Irish Wit & Wisdom Meets Irish Cuisine.  Although
Marianne is not a native northern New Englander, she says that the region has become
the her heart's home.  “I’m happiest when I’m telling the stories of people who live and
work here, and sharing a glimpse of The Heart of New England."  Marianne, lives with
her husband, Sean and dog, Lady, in North Central Vermont. Visit Marianne’s web site
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Holy Mackerel's owners, Peg DeGoosh and Jim Macdonald
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