Last week, while attending the 100th anniversary of the Knife & Fork Inn, I had the pleasure of talking with Lynn Arnold, who is associated with Rastelli Seafood in Egg Harbor City. She reiterated the fact that The Press of Atlantic City had run an excellent story making people aware that the Port of Cape May is among the top seafood-producing ports in the nation.

Arnold proceeded to provide me with a general overview of the fish industry in our state. She stated the combined value of New Jersey’s six main ports was more than $200 million in 2011. She noted the extended value of all related industries is more than $2 billion, already sustaining 40,000 jobs within the state. She further stated that the dining public is asking for more information than ever before regarding everything related to their food, such as, “Is it local? Is that wild or marine raised? Is it fresh?” And these questions are just the beginning.

“Over the past few years Atlantic City has really done a nice job promoting restaurant week in March,” Arnold said. “It will be held March 3 to 9, in 2013. I would really like to see the Atlantic City Alliance, Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Authority, along with the Department of Agriculture and any other supporting groups get together and possibly offer incentives to participating restaurants who will highlight and serve Jersey Fresh items on their menu during that week, or better yet, all year long. This could include seafood, wines, produce, cheese, breads etc. Basically anything harvested or created within the state and promoted as such on the menu. We have exceptional products that are locally produced. Consumers worldwide respect the quality of our goods. I only wish we would capitalize more on our bounty in our own region.”

I remember in the 1980s when Art Brown was the commissioner of agriculture for the state. He walked into my radio show, at that time at the top of the Tropicana, and brought a basket of Jersey Fresh produce and explained that this was how New Jersey produce was going to be marketed. It served to make people aware of the wonderful produce products that are grown in the Garden State.

Since then, this theme has taken off and helps to increase the sale of these New Jersey products.

Arnold’s comments about using Jersey Fresh not only for produce but for the fish products that are found in our state are worthy of consideration.

One need only go down to Gardner’s Basin and see the clam boats, and one of the boat owners who catches lobsters and sells them for $5 a pound when he pulls into the dock. The oysters of our area are among the best you will find in the nation, as are the scallops and the varied types of fish that are caught in the ocean off New Jersey.

Thanks, Lynn, for bringing the subject to our attention and elaborating on the excellent article that was in the newspaper.

A.C.’s Columbus statue

I would be willing to wager a slice of pizza that most of you are unfamiliar with the fact that there is a statue of Christopher Columbus in Atlantic City.

Specifically, it is located between Arctic and Atlantic avenues, adjacent to Christopher Columbus Boulevard, across the street from the Puma store. Unfortunately, there is no sign designating its location.

Hopefully, the committee that is studying the placing of signs of note around the city will include the Columbus statue location.

I’m embarrassed to tell you that I’m one of those who did not know the specific location of Columbus’ statue. One of the reasons may have been that it was surrounded by trees. One of the members of the Columbus Day Committee notified the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which had the trees fronting the statue removed. They also fixed the base of the statue and had it power washed. Vandals had broken the anchor that was in Columbus’ hand. Hopefully, one day they will be able to repair that statue.

Several members of the Italian community turned out for the ceremony that pays homage to the man who discovered America. Genero Consalvo, whose family almost goes back to the days of Columbus, honored several of those who have been supporting this event for many years. In addition, Consalvo presented the Columbus Committee’s Community Service Award to George Miller, a noted local attorney. Pinky Kravitz was the recipient of their 2012 Distinguished Service Award that came with a plaque and a statue of Columbus on it.

It is my understanding that the CRDA will move several plaques that are down on the ground near to the statue and clean them so that people will be able to read them. Christopher Columbus deserves better treatment and more respect from all of us.

Air support for A.C.

Steve Norton, former vice president of Resorts Casino Hotel when it opened as the first casino in Atlantic City, has maintained his interest in making this community bigger and better. He recently had a piece on the Internet that I would like to share with you.

“I think it’s admirable that the CRDA and the Atlantic City Alliance are working to expand the Atlantic City’s visitor base with museums and an upgrade of arts and culture. The only problem, unless you are offering the arts in a major metropolitan city, they won’t draw millions of visitors annually. We have to find ways to fill Atlantic City’s 20,000 rooms midweek with overnight demand, which translates into conventions, trade shows, corporate meetings, association events and new markets that don’t currently have casino games. There happen to be 40 million residents in the Southeast, from North Florida to Maryland, with only one casino in western North Carolina. The problem in attracting the convention trades in cities like Atlanta is the lack of air service into the A.C. International Airport. Let’s put some of that $30 million that was saved from the racing subsidy and allocate some of it into establishing partnerships with one or more visitor-friendly airlines now servicing various Southeastern cities. Let’s expand our new “DO AC” motto and make it “DO AIR.”

That concept is certainly worth consideration.

Pinky’s Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky’s Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, “WMGM Presents Pinky,” airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC TV40. E-mail Pinky at: pinky@pressofac.com.