Ocean City, Maryland- Ginger Nappi may have tried her hand at careers away from the water, but something always drew her back home.
“I wanted to be on the water. I wanted to be with the fish, with my family.”
Now she is. Nappi helps run her family’s Martin Fish Company in Ocean City, Maryland.
Martin Fish Company was founded by Nappi’s grandfather, then worked by Nappi’s father, and now by Nappi and other family members.
“I’ve been around fishing since I was born. In elementary school, (my brother and I) would take turns going out with dad on his day trips.”
Nappi’s father is Sam Martin, who now serves as the Vice President of Operations for Atlantic Capes in New Jersey.
“We’d get up at five in the morning…watch the sunrise on the deck while steaming out into the ocean. When the crew was hauling fish onto the deck, he’d hook me on to a cable and a life jacket so I could be on the deck and watch. We’d be up to our knees in fish.”
Once Nappi turned 18, she started helping out with the operations back at the harbor.
“Anywhere they need me, I jump in and help. Unloading the fish, packing them in boxes. I’ve been inside vats before, icing them up and packing them up. I’ve been slimy from head to toe.”
Martin Fish Company practically does it all at the harbor. The boats come in. We unload the fish. We pack it and either ship it out or sell it in our retail store.”
In the retail store, where Nappi spends most of her time, “we do whatever the customer wants. We sell whole fish, or process it. We fillet for restaurants, and steam crabs and shrimp.”
And, of course, there’s the secret family recipes.
“My grandmother came up with a bunch of soup recipes and clams casino. My aunt and I still make her recipes and sell them here.”
The selling feature for Martin Fish Company?
“It really is the freshest seafood possible. We get the fish right off the boats. There’s no middleman. It’s boat to market to customer.”
Will Nappi’s son head into the family business?
“It will be up to him. But I like knowing he’ll learn the value of working hard, that if you see something that has to get done, you jump in and do it. He’ll learn that here, even if he doesn’t become a fisherman.”