Marco Pinchot is the director of brand marketing for the largest producer of farmed shellfish in the United States, Taylor Shellfish Farms. Under the leadership of the Taylor family of Shelton, their business includes nearly 500 employees and 11,000 acres of tidelands along the coasts of Washington and British Columbia.

And if that wasn’t enough, Taylor Shellfish Farms also operate additional hatchery and nursery facilities in Hawaii and California, and a shellfish distribution business in Hong Kong. They have retail stores in Shelton, Bellingham, and Seattle. They’re well-established within the shellfish industry.

With 150 restaurants in Seattle buying directly from Taylor Shellfish Farms, Marco feels that selling directly to customers improves the quality of the connection. Chefs and restaurateurs want to tell the story of their food: the name of their farmer, where the farm is located, etc.

There’s been a demand for these stories as they’ve become increasingly important to customers. Part of any farm’s story are the values that inform both its business and growing practices. Taylor Shellfish Farms’ story emphasizes the farm-to-table values of freshness and traceability. Its mission is to “sustainably farm quality shellfish
from larvae to table while being active stewards for our marine environment.”

Although Taylor Shellfish still ships an enormous amount of product to New York City, Marco admits that “long-distance distribution does complicates the direct connection between buyer and seller.” Their dream is for a local food system that can feed its local population.

For Marco, the farm-to-table movement isn’t just some vague abstraction lost in limbo. He implies that we all have a role to play in its development. “It’s about expressing your values through your buying power,” Marco reminds us. If we all prioritize the values that we live by and spend money to support companies that express our same values, then, as Marco professes, every chance to spend money comes with an opportunity to change the world. We should make our money count.


By Todd B. Gruel