From Their Boats to Your Belly: The Sassy Seafood Difference

Sassy Seafood has a reputation for catching and producing the most flavorful, sustainable tuna the Pacific Northwest has to offer. While this is extraordinary in itself, Sassy Seafood hasn’t stopped there. Owners Libie Cain and Teresa Reeves have made it their mission to educate our communities, and the world, about their industry, about the importance of supporting sustainable fisheries and about the practices that allow Sassy Seafood to provide us the highest quality tuna imaginable. And they’ve done it one can at a time.

Sassy Seafood Libies Tuna
Libie Cain has worked as her husband’s deck hand for over 16 years. It is tough work, but the end result – delicious, fresh, sustainably caught tuna – makes every back-breaking moment worth it. Photo courtesy: Sassy Seafood

Breaking Barriers:  What It Means to be a Fishermen and a Woman

Warehouse Manager, Fiona Miller, finds Teresa and Libie’s devotion to Sassy Seafood nothing less than amazing.

“One of the things that I admire most and love the most about Sassy Seafood,” said Fiona, “is that it is a company built by women, one on the sea and one on the land, bringing the best products from their boats to our tables.”

Since Sassy Seafood’s inception in 2009, Libie and Teresa have taken on many important leadership roles in the commercial fishing industry, often as the first women to do so. While such historical steps hardly happened overnight, Libie wants all girls to know that breaking that kind of ground isn’t impossible.

“We hope that Sassy Seafood’s success serves as a message to the community and to women everywhere that you don’t have to be what society has told you to be,” explained Libie. “You can be and do whatever you like with your life. No matter what.”

What’s So Great About Tuna Anyway?

Tuna is a nutritional treasure trove. With every can of Sassy Seafood Albacore tuna, you are getting a superior source of protein that is naturally low in carbohydrates and saturated fats, and high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Eating tuna on a regular basis promotes healthy cell growth, reduces inflammation to keep our joints happy and in good working order, and supports the function of important body systems like our brain and heart. Most importantly, it tastes great!

Sassy Seafood Teresa Reves Packages
The team at Sassy Seafood knows exactly where your tuna has been since the moment it arrived on their boats. Teresa Reeves hand delivers these packages of tasty tuna to the post office where they will travel to the bellies of their very happy customers. Photo courtesy: Sassy Seafood

“Selling this product is so easy,” admits Brianne Winkelman, who works in sales at Sassy Seafood. “because my family eats it almost daily and we love it so much! I feel confident telling customers that it tastes great and is a healthy and safe food to feed your family.”

The team at Sassy Seafood loves experimenting with new flavor combinations and complimentary pairings. Jalapeno, lemon, and smoked are just a few of the ways you can savor their sustainable tuna. At Sassy Seafood, they are constantly working to help consumers understand that tuna isn’t just a sandwich. Be on the lookout this Holiday Season for New flavors coming soon!

As consumers, however, it’s important to understand that not all tuna is created equal. To begin with, there are many specific types of tuna, such as Bluefin, Big eye and Skipjack, just to name a few. Sassy Seafood harvests and sells to you only Wild Pacific Albacore Tuna. When you open your first can of Sassy tuna, you will see the difference. Instead of shredded meat in oil or water you will see a complete section of Albacore tuna loin. And when you take that first bite you will taste the difference.

“Teresa always tells new customers, ‘If you aren’t ready to make the change, then just walk away now,’” said Libie. “And she’s right. That’s how powerful it is to experience our tuna. Each can you buy represents our blood, sweat and tears, our hard work and time spent away from our kids. It is nothing less than the very best.”

The Boat to Belly Concept

Sassy Seafood Betty Lee III
Sassy Seafood’s products are completely traceable because they are the boat owners and fishermen themselves. The fishing vessel Betty Lee III is proudly owned and operated by Teresa and Shane Reeves. Photo courtesy: Sassy Seafood

Sassy Seafood is able to sell you the very best product because of their emphasis on quality control. They are involved in every step of the production process and follow each tuna from the moment they are caught. They are the boat owners, the fishermen, the transporters, the marketers and the packaging experts. Their team is a tight knit and close group, a family, and most of them literally are. They call this hands-on approach, Boat to Belly.

“I love the Sassy Seafood story!” shared Austyn Wall, another member of the Sassy Seafood sales team. “One of my favorite things to talk about with customers is the numbers on the bottom of each can. Those numbers represent the exact latitude and longitude of each catch. When people realize they can follow their can of tuna to its original location, down to the month and week it was caught, they see how truly sustainable our products are.”

Sassy Seafood will only produce a product they feel comfortable serving their own kids. Fishing Vessel Captains Shane Reeves and Chris Cain have been fishing all their lives. This combined experience allows them to fish with the highest level of knowledge on both product and practices, ensuring the tuna you serve to your family is top-notch in quality and taste.

Sassy Seafood Cain Family Labels
Sassy Seafood is a family affair. Everyone steps in wherever needed, no matter the time of the day. Photo courtesy: Sassy Seafood

“I want the consumer of our canned products to know that they can get, and are getting, a safe, quality product,” explained Chris. “I want them to know where each product has come from, that it has come from us personally, from our boats to their bellies. I think knowing that is what makes them come back for more.”

Sassy Sets Course for the Future

While Teresa and Libie hold tight to their dream of one day opening a brick and mortar store, for now, their future plans are more focused on the small things they can do to make a lasting impact on their industry, like educating the public about commercial fishing, connecting with local chefs and restaurants who support the spirit of the movement and looking for ways to expand the Sassy Seafood market.

“I like to think that because of our products and our values we are a company like no other,” said Shane. “I am proud of us and am excited to see where Sassy Seafood takes us next.”

“I cherish the time I get to be a part of this company and how much fun I get to have every time we have a meeting or go to market. At its heart, Sassy Seafood is the most amazing people doing a pretty amazing thing!” concluded Austyn.

Sassy Seafood FV Mistress
Mistress, proudly owned by the Cain Family, heads out to sea for another busy day of tuna fishing. Photo courtesy: Sassy Seafood

To learn more about their story, their mission, the practices and most importantly, their products, visit the Sassy Seafood website or connect with them face to face at your favorite community market:

We can also be found at the following locations: Union City Market on Hood Canal, Bay Mercantile on Olympia’s west side, and Grayland Beach Outfitters in Grayland on the south beach. Also look for us on the menu at Alderbrook Resort & Spa, Dillinger’s Bar in downtown Olympia and St. Andrews House in Union.

You can find and order all of our delicious products on the Sassy Seafood website or place a phone order on our product order line at 360-593-6769.

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