Beautiful Fish: Stickfish (Part 2)


Stickfish; fish stick, fish finger

About the April 2nd post on Stickfish … It was intended to appear online April 1st, so with the delay, you might call it a red herring.   The fish stick in the photograph here was drawn for the previous post by P K Bezanson.

Embedded clues in the previous post:

(Asperacutis clarencei)  For Clarence Birdseye (1886-1956), who, right here in Gloucester,  developed the process for manufacturing frozen fish blocks.  Most fish sticks are cut from blocks.  Mark Kurlansky’s 2012 biography of this remarkable man is highly recommended.

Francis McCaffery (1921-2010)  Mechanical Engineering graduate of Columbia College, 1943.  Went immediately to work on the Manhattan Project, then after the war, to the Birdseye Division of General Foods.  In 1954 McCaffery cofounded Commodore Foods with plants in Lowell and Westford where he developed the machinery to manufacture fish sticks.

  1. Robert Kinney (1917-2013) Joined Gorton’s in the early 1950’s, becoming president in 1958.  Guided Gorton’s to lead in the production and marketing of fish sticks.  In 1968 General Mills acquired Gorton’s and Kinney moved to Minneapolis where he soon became CEO of General Mills.  From there he further strengthened Gorton’s earnings by deploying the considerable resources of General Mills Engineering Departments on the fish stick manufacturing practice.

[M.A.T.W]   Guy whose picture is on the yellow bag.  The fish stick in the photo is from this bag.

mean length 3.5 to 4 inches.  Largest specimen 6.4 inches.  Fish blocks are 19X10X2½ inches and there are only so many ways you can slice a block into sticks.  It takes some doing to cut the 19 into thirds and get it through the process intact.


I landed in the fish stick business in 1964 with Gorton’s engineering.  Fish sticks had only been around for about ten years at that time and I knew of three companies who each claimed to be first to market fish sticks.  After moving elsewhere, continued work on the manufacturing process back at Gorton’s and with other producers for a span of fifty years.  Trivia point … a modern fish stick processing line produces in under twenty years enough sticks, if they are place end to end,  to reach the moon.  This on a single shift basis with average down time.



Right Out of the Blue: Architectural Character Downtown Gloucester


Inspired by Nelson’s fairly recent coat of blue, downtown Gloucester caught between the blues and the deep blue sea

blue architectural downtown1a






Nelson’s before (prior to blue)

For green details downtown and Manny’s post for Be Sargent’s 1996 Judith Sargent Street Mural 

GloucesterCast 127 With Mike Costello, Kim Smith, Toby Pett and Host Joey Ciaramitaro #GloucesterMA

GloucesterCast 127 With Guests Mike Costello, Kim Smith, Toby Pett and Host Joey Ciaramitaro

Topics Include: Shoutout To Earl and Arch for Our Intro Music, Lil Earls, Mike Costello, Kim Smith, Toby Pett, Gilligan, The Atlantics, Mike Costello’s Historic Retirement Party Speech When He Went Ballistic, Bruce Tobey, Waterfront Owners Harbor Planning Group, I4C2, Ramada Inn Project, Jeffrey Cohen, Fuller School, Cape Ann Symphony, Sam Park, Windover, Schooner Festival, Clam Festival, Waterfront Fest, Sidewalk Bazaar, Blackburn Industrial Park, Gortons, Regionalizing the Chamber of Commerce, Mike’s Perspective Of The Chamber Since His Retirement, Joey’s Perspective On the Importance Of The Chamber, Tax Classification, Snow Removal Downtown, Free Parking Tolls Downtown, Downtown Employees Taking Up Downtown Parking Spots, Would The YMCA Be A Great Spot For A Parking Garage?, New Downtown Group Doing Great Job Promoting Themselves, Toodeloos, TBT Post, Pop Gallery, Premier Imprints, Harbor Goods, Where Do You Stand On The Windmills?, Cell Phone Tower In West Gloucester, Solar Incentives, Caciattore’s To Open Doors Saturday at 4 PM Please Show Them Your Support!

podcasticon1Subscribe To The GloucesterCast For A Chance To Win This Week’s Prize One Of Two Prints Donated By Jim Clyde

subscribebuttonMike Costello ©Kim Smith 2015

Live From Gloucester Crossing Market Basket With Gorton’s Smart & Crunchy Fish Stick Truck!




Gorton’s “Smarty Cruchman” promoting a New line of never fried fish sticks that have 50% less fat then their orginal fish sticks… This tour started at their headquarters here in Gloucester Ma. this morning and moved to Gloucester Crossing Market Basket parking lot for their 2nd tour stop.  The truck tour will be traveling across the country all the to Seattle, Washington promoting this new fish stick product!


I had the pleasure of sampling Gorton’s newest fish stick product, “Smart & Crunchy,” and I’m happy to announce that I give it a “THUMBS UP” for crunch and flavor !





4 year old Nicholeai Slocum of Gloucester stands with “Smarty Crunchman” sporting Gorton Smarty Eye Glasses!


Look for “Smarty Crunchman” at the North Shore Mall this coming weekend near JCPenney where they’ll have a promotion booth and sweepstake opportunity for a trip worth $10,000. All details about their cross country tour and the sweepstake can be found on Gorton’s websites






Ready to Ship

After salting, the cod was packed into wooden boxes to ship just about anywhere in the world. To learn more about cod and the Gloucester fishery, read Mark Kurlansky's excellent book: "Cod, a Biography of the Fish that Changed the World." The Bookstore on Main Street has it, and I've seen salted cod in local supermarkets.
After salting, the cod was packed into wooden boxes to ship just about anywhere in the world. To learn more about cod and the Gloucester fishery, read Mark Kurlansky’s excellent book: “Cod, a Biography of the Fish that Changed the World.” The Bookstore on Main Street has it, and I’ve seen salted cod in local supermarkets.

Fish on Fridays

The Fish on Fridays series is a collaboration between Gloucester photographers Kathy Chapman and Marty Luster. Look for various aspects of Gloucester’s centuries-old fishing industry highlighted here on Fridays.

This week we visit with Al Bezanson who recalls his days working at Gorton’s Seafoods in Gloucester. As an engineer he worked on ways to improve their products, specifically the fish cakes. Al moors his schooner Green Dragon in Smith Cove and is enjoying his summer stay at Rocky Neck’s Accommodations, where we shot this video.





(Sorry about the poor sound quality in parts of this video. Still scaling the learning curve.)

Photos © Kathy Chapman 2013

Video © Marty Luster 2013

Flake yard photos courtesy Bodin Historic Photos.
© Fredrik D. Bodin 2013


Marshall’s Farm Stand has a Farmers Market at Gorton’s


Anthony Marks writes-

Hi Joey
In case anyone misses the farmers market on Thursdays at Stage Fort
Park, Marshall’s Farm Stand has a farmers market at Gorton’s on Rogers
Street every Monday and Friday from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. I tried their
native corn and it was sweet and tender! It’s the best i have had this
    Best, Anthony

Note from Joey C:

Check out The Marshall’s Farm Stand Website

they also have a CSA which you can find out about here 


Taste of Home From Kate Young

Hi Joey,

I’m a faithful follower of GMG and I appreciate all that you do for Gloucester and all of Cape Ann.  We do live in the most beautiful place in the world.

My sister in California sent the attached photo she took at a grocery store in Buena Park, CA.  I thought you’d get a kick out of it.  She titled it “Taste of Home”.

Kate Young


News from the proposed Downtown Gloucester Cultural District coordinating group

Catherine Ryan writes-

Dear Joey,

The November 13, 2012 CITY COUNCIL vote was UNANIMOUS to endorse the establishment of the proposed Downtown Gloucester Cultural District.

The DGCD coordinating group thanks the Councilors, our City Clerk, and the more than 30 partners and stakeholders who sent in letters of support and spoke at the hearing. Have a peek at a few: Cape Ann Museum , the Gloucester Public Schools , and Gorton’s.

Next steps: Send in the application and support materials and wait for word, guidance, and a visit from the Massachusetts Cultural Council!

Visit URL or email

Original Gortons Fish Foods Pin From The 1930’s

These are not reproduced , they are original pins from Gortons of Gloucester back in the 1930s.  Arley Pett sells them for $20 plus $1 shipping.  The patina from pin to pin will vary due to age.

email Arley if you are interested in buying one


Ginormous Tank Hoisted off Gorton’s Roof Video

Captured this the other day.  The tank looked to be as big as a trailer truck.

that was one big ass crane

here’s some pics-

Not sure that old link belt crane could have handled this job( especially considering it is about 1/5 the size of this one).

New Spring Recipes Coming Soon! But in the meantime, how about a vote for my Gorton’s “Taste of Mexico Tortilla Crusted Tilapia Salad?”

Good Afternoon all!

I am taping another episode of Inspired Cooking tomorrow so will have new recipes to share with you soon.   However, in the meantime, would you please go and vote for my “Taste of Mexico Tortilla Crusted Tilapia Salad?”  I need all of the votes I can get!

Here is a link to the recipe so you can vote:

and here is a link to the terrific article from last week’s Cape Ann Beacon. Thank you so much Jane Dooley for doing such a great job with the article and to Dave Sokol for the wonderful photographs.  It was a blast doing the article and the photos with them and they left happy with the tilapia salad for lunch and a container full of brownies!

Thank you Cape Ann and everyone all over the country for your continued support!