Seafood company ‘Ocean to Table’ lands on the shores of Flathead Valley

Molly and Steve are the owners and operators of Worthy Seafoods, a family fishing business dedicated to delivering fresh, sustainably caught Alaskan Halibut to dinner tables across the United States. While the couple have lived and worked in Juneau, Alaska since the early 1990s, their Montana ties recently brought them back to Whitefish, where they are expanding their fresh halibut market to the greater Flathead Valley.

Steve already had years of Alaskan fishing experience under his belt when he and Molly met as freshmen at Montana State University in 1985. The two members of the ski team – Steve a racer downhill and Molly a Nordic skier – the couple started dating in college. and married a few years later, moving to Juneau. Molly became a teacher and then an administrator in the Juneau school district and Steve bought the fishing industry, in which he had worked since he was 13 years old.

After Molly and Steve moved to Juneau, fishing became a way of life, not only for the couple, but also for their two children, Corey and Nikki. Both children were involved in the fishing experience from the start, accompanying their parents on boat trips through the crystal clear waters of Alaska. Since the official founding of Worthy Seafoods in 1997, every member of the Box family has been involved in the business, from catching the fish to marketing the produce to delivering the fillets to customers.

“It has been a huge privilege to work with my family,” said Steve.

The Worthy Seafoods fishing vessel in Alaska in June 2022. Photo by Molly Box

Worthy Seafoods stands out not only for its commitment to freshness, the couple explained, but also for its unique access to Alaskan halibut.

Steve holds a Lifetime Access Permit (LAP), which allows him to fish commercially in Glacier Bay, a practice that was almost entirely banned after Congress voted to phase out commercial fishing in the area. bay in 1998 in the name of preserving marine life. Because Steve had held a commercial fishing license for years when the law was passed, he was grandfathered and granted a LAP, which cannot be transferred or sold to another fisherman. In 2016, there were less than 90 Glacier Bay LAP holders, Steve being one of them.

Molly and Steve take their unparalleled access to protected waters and their mission to “bring your catch directly to the consumer” seriously, Molly said.

For years, that consumer was the local community in and around Juneau. But after Molly retired from teaching in 2021, the couple saw a perfect window to return to Montana and grow the business.

“We have always had roots in Montana. We’ve had family in and out of Flathead Valley for years,” Steve said. “We always wanted to come back, so three or four years ago we bought a house there. Now we try to bring back some of our seafood to share with the Flathead Valley.

Packaged halibut fillets from Worthy Seafoods at Whitefish on October 27, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | flathead beacon

Now Worthy Seafoods’ Flathead outpost is officially up and running, with Molly selling Alaskan halibut from their Whitefish house. Although the halibut travels by air to Montana, Molly said her ability to pick up deliveries herself, which are shipped directly from Steve in Alaska, allows the company to retain the freshness it is known for. .

With Molly in Whitefish and Steve in Juneau, the pair were able to “eliminate a couple of people in the middle”, Steve said, in order “to provide a fresher and better product to the consumer”.

Although the price of freshly caught fish from Glacier Bay isn’t cheap, the couple said they’ve found a local market for their halibut because people appreciate their business’ “ocean-to-table” model.

“It costs a little more money, but people are willing to pay a little more if they know where the source was and if they know the family behind it. I think that means a lot and that’s part of what we’re trying to step into,” Steve said.

Molly’s clientele in the Flathead has grown recently, which she says has allowed her to bond with the community and meet her neighbors, a more unexpected and enjoyable part of the business.

“For us, it’s really fun to be able to connect with the people around us and provide this amazing resource,” she said. “I think it’s pretty special to be able to have the family catching the fish to deliver it to your doorstep.”

Those wishing to bring freshly caught halibut from Worthy Seafoods to their own table can visit or call Molly at 907-321-4444.

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