Name: Manny Gorgita
Company: Gorgita Seafoods
Location: Santa Barbara
What they fish: Known for their sweet ridgeback shrimp, the family also fishes a wide selection of fresh seafood: lobster, crab, sanddabs, sole, copper rockfish, vermilion rockfish, spot prawns, pink shrimp, halibut, seabass, flounder, and many more depending on the season and water conditions.
Where to buy: Farmers markets including Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara.
In markets now: From October to May, Gorgita Seafoods carries their popular ridgeback prawns, a local favorite enjoyed by many of the top chefs in town. Prawns are also a popular crustacean of choice, as well as their fresh lobster and rock and spider crab. All seafood is fresh, never frozen prior to markets.
Their story: A fourth-generation fisherman, Manny Gorgita has fond memories growing up in the business, now fishing alongside his own son. As one of the oldest fishing families in the harbor, Gorgita Seafoods has provided quality for over 30 years.
“I cleaned my first swordfish when I was 7 years old!” said Gorgita. “It’s in my blood, I’ve been doing it my whole life.”
Fishing from Santa Barbara to Gaviota, the family business comprises three boats docked down at the harbor. If you’re lucky, you can catch them down at the harbor — and make sure to ask about recipes!
“It’s really important to keep buying local seafood and support small fishermen,” said Gorgita. “Since we fish ourselves, we offer an affordable price to locals.”
Keeping the fish and crustaceans fresh on the boat, they are usually kept alive until the morning prior to the market. They sell out quickly, so it is recommended to arrive early to their stand, especially to purchase those sweet and buttery ridgebacks.
“We never want to freeze our product; it really looses its luster,” said Gorgita. “The best fish is never frozen. We can ensure that.”
As one of the first fish trucks to sell on the street corner, Gorgita Seafoods has become a Santa Barbara staple for fresh seafood. With customers coming back for decades, the Gorgitas are proud of the family business they have created.
“I love what I do, the outdoors, being on the water … nothing beats it,” said Gorgita. “It’s great that my son wants to fish lobsters with Daddy — he’s totally in!”