PITTSTON ‚?? Fresh or frozen, customers had plenty of fish and seafood to choose from at area outdoor markets in time for traditional Christmas Eve dinners.
Haddock, lobster tails and smelts were among the top sellers at Quinn‚??s Market on Kennedy Boulevard.
Billy Krenitsky and Rob Mercatili kept warm and busy on a cold Saturday, weighing, bagging and making change. They didn‚??t have to worry about the crab legs or shrimp thawing or the ice on the tilapia melting.
‚??It actually started years ago with Insalaco‚??s,‚?Ě said Krenitsky, 26, of Clarks Summit who regularly works as a produce manager. His father and uncle worked for the former locally owned supermarket chain and continued the practice of the outdoor market for people who followed family traditions of seafood meals on the night before Christmas.
This year‚??s temporary stand opened on Dec. 14 and will operate until Christmas Eve. It will reopen with the same fare for the weekend leading up to the New Year‚??s holiday.
The stand outside the supermarket was filled with fillets of orange roughy, haddock and salmon. Baccala, white and stiff from salting, was stacked in a wooden box.
But time was running out if the salted cod was going to be cooked and served on Monday night. The fish should be soaked for three days to get rid of the salt used to preserve it.
Cindy Hrobuchak of Old Forge found some whiting for her traditional Russian meal on Christmas Eve. The fish will be served with two kinds of sauerkraut soup, one with kidney beans and the other with mushrooms, and pea soup with a bit of garlic, she said.
She learned how to prepare the meal from her mother-in-law, and Hrobuchak passed it on to her daughters. ‚??They carry it on,‚?Ě she said.
Michael Moleski and Freddy Schiel worked the seafood stand at the Schiel‚??s Family Market on George Avenue in Wilkes-Barre.
They‚??ve been at it for more than a week. The pace will pick up today and Monday as people make last-minute purchases, said Moleski 21, of Dallas.
Their stand featured almost the same items as Quinn‚??s. Haddock, lobster tails and shrimp have been big sellers.
Moleski has been working the stand for five years, knows a jumbo shrimp from a colossal shrimp and even gives out cooking tips.
He had no problem explaining to a potential customer how to prepare a lobster tail. She passed on the purchase, however.
‚??It sounds complicated,‚?Ě said Moleski, ‚??but it‚??s pretty easy.‚?Ě