On a blustery, rainy afternoon, I sat down with Tre-Fin Foods in their annex while the wind and rain pounded on the windows. “There are three things that a sea- food distributor must have nailed down to be successful in their endeavors,” says Mike Domey- er, owner of Tre-Fin Day Boat Tuna in Ilwaco, WA. “First and super important is water access, without which you can’t move your product ashore. Second is a stable supply of ice. Third is cold storage facilities near your market area.” Since 2014, Tre- Fin has utilized varied solutions to meet these requirements,

Domeyer and his company have recently acquired new building space a short distance away from the Port of Ilwaco waterfront. The building, in the city of Ilwa- co, having formerly housed the infamous "Sea Hag" bar, stood vacant for several years. After an extensive remodel, they now process the daily catch of their own three fishing boats and the other eight boats of the fishing fleet that comply with Tre-Fin’s live-catch standards.

“I don’t want to sound sanctimonious,” said Domeyer. “We are serious about providing a substantially superior product that is transparent to our cus- tomers and employees and that is also responsible to the avail- able resource.” All the fish that are brought to their processing plant must be bled immediately after catching, cooled, and held in an ice slurry while aboard the fishing vessel. It's called a “day boat” fishery because the fish must be back to the dock and off- loaded within 24 hours of being caught. “Because we are fisher- men too, and personally process each fish, we know the differ- ence and can identify when our standards haven’t been met,” he continues. “You really can tell the difference.”

In off-peak months Tre-Fin em- ploys eight workers that nearly doubles during peak seasons. They process Sablefish, Rock- fish, Cabezon, Lingcod, Alba- core Tuna, Halibut, Salmon and also offer Dungeness Crab. Their current clientele makeup is about 15% members of their Commu- nity Supported Fishery (CSF); 25% Farmers Markets in the Port- land, OR. area; 40% restaurants; and the remaining 20% out of their new retail space in their process- ing facility on 1st Ave, downtown Ilwaco. Their website is at https:// trefinfoods.com/. There, you may also mail order their value-add- ed products like smoked fish and spreads in addition to their hand cut, quick-frozen, vacuum-packed selections of fish.

Over the years Tre-Fin has bene- fitted from Ecotrust, Portland, and the USDA Value-added Producer- Grant program where they were encouraged and coached on how to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportuni- ties, and increase income oppor- tunities.

Tre-Fin’s "dayboat" moniker is getting noticed up and down the coast as consumers recognize the resultant differences in the taste, firmness, and shelf life. Domeyer claims that virtually no one used the term “dayboat” back in 2014. But ten years later he sees it being copied in select fisheries in Ore- gon and California.”

Editor's Note: Tre-Fin is actively recruiting individuals with restaurant sales experience to expand its reach to the Greater Seattle region.


Whiskey Forty Saloon - One of the Most Notorious

Although Eagle Harbor was pretty “dry” during the latter 1800’s mainly due to the efforts of outspoken teeto- taling settlers Riley Hoskinson and Am- brose Grow, the rest of the island was no stranger to strong drink.

In the sawmill town of Port Madison, on the island’s north end, one could only get beer at the town’s hotel. On the outskirts of town several whiskey “farms” were well known by the mill workers. The most notorious of these backwoods still and saloon operations was known as “Whiskey Forty”, owned by William “Bob” Impett.
Pictured below, it sometimes was de- scribed as a two-building establish- ment. The Forty was built teasingly close to the sawmill property on 40 acres near the northwest intersection of present-day Sunrise Drive and Tor- vanger Road. While the mill was suc- cessful in fining or shutting down other liquor establishments built or floated near the town, the Forty seems to have thrived for quite a while.

Impett (inset) was born in Pennsyl- vania in 1834 to English parents. He was sent to England to attend school. He ran away to become a shipboard cabin boy and sailed for Australia. Once there, he jumped ship to make his fortune as a gold miner. When he arrived in Puget Sound sometime pri- or to the 1860s, Impett was reported to have been lugging pouches stuffed with gold.
He married a Native American woman but left her her for 18-year-old, Helen Buist, in 1878. Impett had several run- ins with the law and his legal battles were well recorded in county records. The year 1888 appears to mark his exit from Port Madison.

Bainbridge Organic Distillery Reaches Milesone

Bainbridge Organic Distillery is turning fifteen this year. It is locat- ed on Sportsman's Club Road in the Coppertop business park. I was excited to learn more about how the distillery is planning its next fif- teen years of business and contact- ed Keith Barnes, the master distiller and president of the company.
When I arrived at the distillery it was clear they were ready for sum- mer. Tables with cushioned outside seating and market umbrellas were in place and upon entering I was impressed by its warm and invit- ing atmosphere and large windows that let in an abundance of natural light. We started our talk in the still house, where Barnes explained how the company has always sourced organic ingredients from local farmers and used a unique process to create their spirits. The attention to detail is impressive and the com- mitment to sustainability evident in every aspect of the process.

Barnes explained that while they are the only "Grain To Glass" USDA Certified organic distillery in Washington State, they "welcome and enthusiastically support other distiller's efforts to produce prod- ucts in the most conscious manner possible." In that regard, Barnes explained that their organic cer- tification agency, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), and the Federal Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), for- merly part of the Bureau of Alco- hol, Tobacco, and Firearms, have been beneficial both on the com- pliance side as well as assisting in things like securing import and export permits for maintaining the integrity of their organic certifica- tion here and abroad.

We moved to the tasting room where I was served a taster of Bain- bridge Two Islands Barbados Rum Cask Whiskey (Battle Point Whis- key that has undergone secondary maturation in casks that formerly held ten-year-old XO rum from the eastern Caribbean island of Barbados). Barnes explained that the distillery recently had some success with crowd-funding. The goal was to raise capital to expand their equipment and facility, in- crease capacity and production, and "activate a marketing team that could promote the spirits in new markets to support distribution." They raised enough to meet some of their needs while learning a lot about the crowd-funding process.

Part of their upgrade is underway. They have been busy installing a new semi-automated bottling line. They hope it will expand their an- nual 1,000-case capacity to 5,000 to 6,000 cases. Of course, part of that increase in capacity depends upon the still sluggish post-COVID supply chain. "It may sound trite," Barnes explained, "but the supply chain hasn't recovered enough for us to feel like we can stop redun- dant efforts to supply all of our critical raw materials." Regardless, he remains optimistic. "The cur- rent outlook for grain is very good. Glass and other packaging are good and starting to get better. But, the increase in costs all around is an ongoing challenge."

As I left the distillery, I felt inspired by their plans. Bainbridge Organic Distillery is much more than just a place that produces great spirits - it also is a community that em- ploys seven people, five here on Bainbridge Island and one sales- person in California. In addition they maintain a fractional CFO in Chicago and have three board members and two advisors who are industry veterans of different disciplines. With that and the con- tinued love and support of Bain- bridge Islanders, Washington State, and the rest of the country, they'll be making World-class whiskies, gins, and vodkas for years to come.

Introducing Kitsap Fresh
An online marketplace connecting farm to table in a whole new way. An online farmers market dedicated to Kitsap grown goods. Access at least 20 local farms all from one storefront. Your order is sorted, organized and waiting for you. You can even pay online if you wish. 

est. 1991

est. 1982

Flickr Photos

Ambrose F. Grow

Ambrose Grow and his wife, Amanda, and their family came to Eagle Harbor in 1881. He was a Civil War veteran and came because of the descriptive letters he had read in the New York and Kansas papers telling of the virtues of Bainbridge Island. Selling his large farm in Manhattan, Kansas, he homesteaded 160 acres here along the waterfront. In addition to being a charter member of the Eagle Harbor Congregational Church and the Madrone Schools, he was a prolific correspondent to the happenings in Eagle Harbor and environs.

The Grow Family Homestead

Still stands today
as home to
Harbour Public House
Opened on December 27th, 1991
as the first non-smoking
tavern in the Seattle area.

Parfitt Way Management • 231 Parfitt Way S.W. • Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 • Phone: 206- 842- 0969 • Email: click here