Women's History Month Profile: Anna Barr Larsen (Part I)

By Lauren Norton

Lauren Norton
Lauren Norton


Author’s Note: I’m including my conversation with Anna Barr Larsen in our series celebrating Women’s History Month. Her story is a great example of how important it is to find work we love–even if it means starting from scratch in a field traditionally dominated by men.  Part II of the story, which takes us on a tour of a sustainable fishery, will run next week.


“As soon as I got to the point in my career where before I thought, once I get there I’m going to be really happy and I’m going to love this.  Well I got there and realized, I don’t love this.  I’m tired, I’m lonely, I’m broke.”
When you ask Anna Barr Larsen about her success in the sustainable food movement,  she can’t tell her story without first remembering the hardships of her career in the arts.  Trained as a classical singer, Anna spent the first half of her twenties traveling the world performing opera.  During downtime in LA, when she was feeling increasingly worn out from touring, she would procrastinate learning her roles by cooking.
“I was like, ‘First I’m going to let myself make some homemade cheese.  Then I’ll learn Zia Principessa.’”  As the rigours of touring took its toll, Anna listened to her desire to work with food and live closer to her family.  She left the career she had worked so hard to build for an uncertain future in food.
“I knew I was going to have to start at the bottom.  I moved up north, found an admin job with Northcoast Fisheries and I worked my way up.”  After just two years, the transition from Anna the Opera Singer to Anna the Fishmonger was complete.  As Quality Control Manager of the Northcoast facility, Anna was intimately connected to the Bay Area’s fishing community.  And when she saw an opportunity to create a new way of connecting consumers to suppliers, she seized it.
“CSF stands for Community Supported Fisheries, it takes the idea of Community Supported Agriculture and applies it to fishing.”  As someone who regularly eats their weight in sushi, I’m prone to the odd pang of guilt about the exhausted state of our oceans.  With Siren Fish Co., Anna has created a way for people like me to enjoy some guilt-free, fresh fish.
So how does it work?  First, you select your “pick-up site.”  Sacramento subscribers currently have their fish delivered to locations in Midtown, Land Park, and Folsom.  Next, you choose the frequency you would like to order fish (weekly or bi-weekly).  Then you plan your meals with the help of delicious recipes Anna emails to her subscribers on a regular basis, alongside stories about the fishermen bringing you this week’s catch.
In the Farm to Fork Capital of America, Sactown foodies are sure to love Anna and her weekly haul.  To help get you hooked, she’s offering new subscribers $20 off with the coupon code “GOTG”. Visit sirenfish.com for more info!
Anna on an oyster buying trip.

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