The Story of Our Sustainable Salmon

by Carolyn on September 22, 2013

Most people are aware that salmon is good for you, with it’s low fat, heart and brain supportive, high omega 3′s.  Salmon also contains important vitamins such as vitamins A, B and D.  I’ve heard tales about salmon, once so abundant, you could walk to the other side of a river, on the backs of spawning salmon. The decline in wild salmon, due to damming, development and other environmental factors, wild salmon has become a scarce commodity.  Anyone who has shopped for wild salmon at the grocery store has witnessed the high cost, which can be from $17-$19 and more.  There are lots of hungry people, and growing, to feed and everyone deserves the option to eat healthy food. Salmon is one of the most popular toppings at Charlie Hong Kong.  Our mission is to offer HEALTHY, AFFORDABLE, SUSTAINABLE food and of course FAST.

Stagnoro Brother’s Seafood, on our Santa Cruz wharf, have been our longtime partners and suppliers of our salmon.  Stagnoro’s,  are aware of our mission to serve affordable food.  With the fluctuating, rising price of salmon, they came to us with a sustainably farmed, salmon that impressed them.  It is a Chinook, also known as King, salmon from Canada.  Like many of you, I had a knee jerk reaction, Farmed!!!???  Immediately, negative images rushed through my mind but because of my respect for Stagnoro’s, I listened.  They assured us, my husband and I, with all their years of experience, cutting fish, this was a beautiful salmon, plus informing us, not all farmed fish is the same.  The quality and price remains consistent something which is important for all restaurants, but especially for Charlie Hong Kong.  Stagnaro got my attention and I began to dig deeper into who this Canadian supplier was.  When I called Creative Salmon, I was very impressed with the integrity and commitment, as they spoke about their salmon.  This person had the same passion about his salmon, as the organic farmers I talk with in Santa Cruz.  He IS a farmer. Aquaculture, means growing animals or plants in the water, while agriculture means growing them on land.  These are committed farmers. Along with their next shipment of salmon, arrives brochures and literature so I could gather more information. The first batch of fliers, somehow came salmon soaked and our office smelled like a fish market until I discovered the source of the slightly fishy aroma.

I’m delighted to report what I discovered.  Creative Salmon is North America’s only major producer of naturally raised indigenous Pacific Chinook (King) salmon.  Since the fish are indigenous, they are naturally tolerant to sea lice and require no sea lice treatments.  They’re fed an organic, GMO-free diet, as close to their natural diet as possible.  This is a small company, their focus is on quality, not quantity.  They carefully follow sustainable farming practices and are in the process of becoming the first certified organic salmon farm.  We decide the next step to reassure us was, to visit Tofino, BC, and check out first hand Creative Salmon.  800 miles of driving, from Seattle and back, including 4 hours on ferries, I can report, we are more then impressed with the high quality of this salmon.  Tofino, the home of Creative Salmon, is a magnificent  surfing town, located on the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island.  Tofino is in a UNESCO, declared biosphere, demanding that the waters are protected and all businesses are carefully monitored to reassure this happens. The folks at Creative Salmon were welcoming, down-to-earth and well informed.  Creative Salmon is actually run by a marine biologist.  They are totally committed to the health and quality of their fish.  The fish are carefully monitored by underwater cameras and farmers live in floating houses at the farms to constantly care for the fish.  My husband and I visited every aspect of their farms and processing; asked the same questions you might have about their farming practices.  Everything came up with a big yes!  If you would like more information, there are brochures at the restaurant and you can check out their excellent web-site, www.creativesalmon.com/

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