Seafoodies

 

 

Hy-Vee is working behind the scenes on marine conservation programs that make every day Earth Day

by Nate Stewart | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

Authored by Kathleen Mullen-Ley & Nate Stewart

How Hy-Vee’s Responsible Seafood Program relates to the larger picture of marine conservation.

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22, but Hy-Vee is making environmentally responsible choices every day. One of the most visible is the Responsible Choice initiative – Hy-Vee’s pledge to customers to responsibly source all fresh and frozen Hy-Vee brand fish by the end of 2015.

Less visible but no less important are three major marine conservation initiatives.
These are huge efforts that are not necessary to meeting Hy-Vee’s seafood goals, but are important to Hy-Vee in establishing itself as an industry leader in marine conservation issues.

Retailer participation in advocacy issues and reform is becoming increasingly important to customers as public awareness of threats to marine ecosystems grows. Hy-Vee supports the following three initiatives to help protect the oceans.

  1. Ross Sea Pledge
    The Ross Sea in Antarctica is the least altered marine ecosystem on Earth, supporting exceptional abundances of krill, penguins, fishes, and marine mammals, and it offers important scientific research opportunities only available in this unique place. To support the creation of a marine protected area in one of the world’s most isolated and pristine ecosystems, Hy-Vee publicly pledged that it will not procure Antarctic toothfish (also known as Chilean sea bass) from the Ross Sea.
  2. Genetically Engineered Seafood Pledge
    Hy-Vee extended its commitment to not sell genetically engineered (GE) salmon to include all GE seafood. There currently is no GE seafood on the market, but Hy-Vee is taking this proactive step in part because a technology company has petitioned the FDA for approval of an Atlantic salmon that contains genes from several other species that allow it to grow faster.

    This is a concern not only for the 93 percent of Americans who favor GMO labeling, but also from an environmental standpoint. Because they are modified to grow faster, there are valid concerns that these farm-raised GE salmon could escape and out-compete wild salmon populations, leading to the decline of wild salmon stocks. Anyone who values biological diversity does not want to go in that direction.

  3. Protection for the Bering Sea Canyons
    On Jan. 28, 2014, Hy-Vee sent a letter to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) in support of the establishment of a Fishery Ecosystem Management Plan for the Bering Sea, including protections for the Zhemchung and Pribilof canyons.

    A protected zone over these canyons is important because these areas have deep sea coral and sponge habitat that provide a very rare nursery for fish. Healthy coral and sponge habitat leads to healthy stocks of many commercially important fish, including Alaska pollock, Pacific cod, and numerous species of rockfish.

All three of these initiatives are ongoing, and Hy-Vee is committed to remaining engaged.

Healthy Oceans – Better Seafood

by Hy-Vee | Videos | Leave a comment

It is Hy-Vee’s intent to sell high-quality seafood that not only is safe for consumption but also is harvested or raised in a manner that provides for its long-term viability (sustainability) while minimizing damage to the environment and other sea life.

Responsible Choice Seafood Recipe Highlight: Salmon and Halibut Make Holiday Meals Extra Special

by Andrew Kintigh | Recipes | Leave a comment

Ham and lamb often get the nod when people are thinking about what to put on the Easter holiday table, but Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice salmon and halibut offer some serious competition. Either will stand up well as a main dish.

I’ve selected two recipes that offer a unique presentation and will look beautiful on your holiday table and will leave your guests raving about the meal. Guests will remember these two dishes, whereas the ham they had last year may not be all that memorable.

They’re a nice choice going into spring when people want to get away from some of the heavier foods of winter. They’re both flavorful, but light.

Both dishes also present well. Shingle the fish on a nice white platter and garnish with colorful citrus and you’ll have a presentation that will be very aesthetically pleasing to your guests.


Poached Salmon with Pineapple Cucumber Raita

  • Salmon
  • 1 ½ quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 9 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces

Pineapple Cucumber Raita

  • 1 English cucumber, seeded, and grated
  • ¾ cup small diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large deep poaching pan, combine the vegetable stock, wine, vinegar, onion, carrot, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves, and 2 ¼ teaspoons of the salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, pineapple, yogurt, garlic, mint and cilantro; season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add the fish to the liquid in the pan and bring back to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, until the fish is just barely done (it should still be translucent in the center), about 4 minutes for a 1-inch-thick fillet. Remove the pan from the heat and let the fish sit in the liquid for 2 minutes. Transfer to plates and, if you like, remove the skin. Serve the salmon warm, topped with the raita.


Halibut with Chimichurri

Chimichurri

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Halibut

  • 4 halibut steaks
  • olive oil for brushing
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, place garlic, cilantro, parsley, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes; pulse until herbs are coarsely ground. Add lemon zest and red wine vinegar; slowly drizzle in olive oil to create an emulsion. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat an outdoor gas grill, or prepare coals for a charcoal grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Brush the cooking grates clean and oil the grill rack. Brush steaks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill halibut over direct heat 10 minutes, turning once, or until just opaque but still moist in the center.

Spoon chimichurri over grilled halibut and serve with steamed rice or quinoa.

There’s no reason to avoid Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice farm-raised fish and seafood

by Dennis Frauenholz | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

The reputation of farm-raised fish and seafood is improving to the point that you’re probably eating more farm-raised seafood than you know. Anytime you’re ordering it off the menu, it’s probably farm-raised unless it’s specifically labeled as wild caught.

The problem with farm-raised fish in the past was that it was penned too tightly. One of the problems with that is the same as putting too many people in a pressurized cabin on an airplane. If several people have colds, there’s a good chance many people will catch it. In the oceans, if disease gets to the native fish it can cause a kill.

Large pens of farmed fish also creates waste and uneaten feed that goes to the sea floor, causing negative impacts on crustaceans and other sea life.

But that’s the past. Hy-Vee’s commitment to responsibly choice its seafood by the end of 2015 means our customers won’t have to worry about those practices.

Modern aquaculture practices bear no resemblance to those Old World practices where shrimp was raised in the mud, tilapia in the water and poultry occupied cages resting above the water, creating a not so appetizing circle of life that might have seemed efficient. Today, fish aren’t packed in as tightly in the big enclosed systems used to raise tilapia and trout, and fresh water is filtered and recirculated.

One species where we’ve seen the biggest gains is in tilapia, a fish that has exploded over the last 10 years and is farm-raised all over the world.

We don’t have to go far down the road here in Iowa to see how it’s raised. The Waterfront Drive store in Iowa City, where I work, is one of the few places around that live tilapia can be found. It’s raised by Kingfisher Farms in Long Grove, Iowa, just north of Davenport, in an enclosed tank system. It’s a local, organic operation and you can’t beat it for freshness. Due to the environmentally friendly way that it’s farmed, Kingfisher Farm’s tilapia is a Hy-Vee Responsible Choice.

The system there is very similar. Tilapia are vegetarians, so farmers are able to avoid one of the biggest issues that gives farm-raised fish a bad reputation: in too many farm operations, it takes too many pounds of fish to grow a pound of fish.

One of most exciting developments in aquaculture comes from Chile, where Hy-
Vee procures its Responsible Choice Verlasso salmon. Chile is one of the countries where most fish farms still need a lot of work, because fish are packed in too tightly. Verlasso salmon is different.

What Verlasso has done is huge. Not only are fewer fish raised in a pen, the company has developed a feed that has achieved a 1:1.34 ratio in that the fish meal they’ve developed uses slightly over one pound of wild fish to create one pound of salmon. That’s the reason most salmon isn’t Responsible Choice; it uses too much wild fish in the meal.

Verlasso has changed the feed without changing the flavor, which is one of the biggest issues people have had with farm-raised salmon. It still contains those essential Omega-3 fatty acids people want, and it still has the same texture people want.

Salmon is a very popular fish, and wild-caught salmon can only supply about 10 percent of the demand for the salmon, so Responsible Choice options like Verlasso are very important.

Farm-raised mussels are also Responsible Choice. They filter and help clean the water, so they’re actually helping the environment rather than harming it. They grown and multiply quickly and they don’t have to be fed. So we haven’t seen huge changes in those practices, because the fisheries have been doing the right thing for a long time.

We’re watching a shrimp out of Belize very closely. The shrimp industry has been slow to change, but it is beginning to adopt better practices. Hy-Vee has picked up fully traceable shrimp from Belize Aquaculture Ltd., which last year earned a three-star rating from the Global Aquaculture Alliance. It’s the best farm-raised shrimp out there, and we’re glad we can offer it to our customers.

Thinking globally while eating locally: Feel good about this cod stew and make it your own with fresh garden bounty

by John Rohrs | Recipes | Leave a comment

John here:
Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice seafood initiative responds to a growing interest among eaters in knowing where their food comes from, as well as our commitment to healthy oceans to ensure a bountiful supply of seafood for generations to come.

When they choose seafood from Alaska, consumers can feel 100 percent confident about the fish. It’s written into the state’s Constitution that the fishing industry – Alaska’s largest private-sector employer – use sustainable practices to ensure a plentiful supply of fish and healthy oceans for many years to come.

The fisheries live and die by that principle. Some of the best fish to come out of Alaska is Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice cod. It’s a mild white fish that many people are familiar with – most of the fish sandwiches out there are cod – and one that Hy-Vee frequently features in the seafood case.


Andrew Kintigh here:
The spring and summer growing season is just around the corner, meaning more locally produced vegetables will be available in the produce section at local Hy-Vee stores.

Some examples: We’ll soon be featuring Foxx tomatoes being grown in Grimes, as well as organic produce and vegetables being grown right here in Iowa. We also have relationships with Deardorff corn out of Adel, Grady’s tomatoes from Carroll and Mariposa Farms herbs from Grinnell, among others.

Different stores carry different local foods, so be sure to check your produce aisle to find what’s being grown near your back yard.

This Moroccan Cod Stew is good, versatile recipe that people can make their own by adding almost any kind of locally grown vegetable – peppers, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, English cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, and green beans are some good choices.

The broth is very forgiving, and it’s also light. You may not think about stew as a summer recipe, but especially when locally grown produce is added, it just screams spring and summer.

If you’re adding to the recipe, you may have to throw in some extra vegetable stock, depending on how thick of a stew you want. Also, be sure to think about cooking times. Throw in the root vegetables in the beginning, and the fresher vegetables at the end so they’ll be crisp and retain their taste.

Pair this with a nice salad with local greens and tomatoes, and you’ve got a meal you can feel good about eating.


Moroccan Cod Stew with Chickpeas

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, small dice (choose locally sourced leeks if possible)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 ¼ pounds Alaska cod fillet, cubed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups rough chopped kale greens (choose locally sourced kale if possible)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted

Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until softened. Add garlic, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper; sauté for 1 minute. Add brown sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring the soup to a simmer. Add cod and chickpeas and simmer until all are tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the kale greens to the pot and cook for 1 minute or until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper and top with toasted almonds.

Key takeaway from Seafood Expo in Boston: Sustainability is expected, no longer a hot, in-your-face topic

by Kathleen Mullen-Ley | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

One of the greatest opportunities at the Seafood Expo North America (formerly the Boston Seafood Show) was found in the chance to talk face-to-face with the approximately 19,000 suppliers, processors and other professionals from around the world who attend this event.

Establishing that rapport makes the follow-up conversations much easier and more congenial.

For me, the key takeaway from the event in Boston is that sustainability isn’t the in-your-face, hot topic that it used to be. Everyone may not quite meet the same high standards that Hy-Vee and PDI have set with the Responsible Choice initiative, but everyone takes for granted that companies care about sustainability and are doing something about it. This is driven some by consumer demand, but primarily it’s due to competition for business between companies.

It was great to meet those domestic suppliers, the folks with boats on the water and processing plants, who are working directly with PDI and Hy-Vee to provide Alaskan King crab, wild salmon, because promotions around those species have been successful at bringing customers’ attention to Responsible Choice seafood.

At FishWise, we work with some of the better-acting companies and they are doing a great deal to advance conservation. These seafood suppliers from Alaska, who are leading the world in setting the standards for sustainability, appreciate that Hy-Vee is very direct about what its environmental standards are what companies need to provide for them.

They love that Hy-Vee does so much to draw attention to the way they do things. They know Hy-Vee appreciates quality. It’s kind of a mutual admiration society, which is rare.

At the expo, I also met with leaders of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, a certifying organization like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), to connect them with Hy-Vee and other distributors and help them better understand where the other is coming from. It’s a tough topic, because so many people are under the impression that farmed fish is not sustainable in any way, and we need to work to overcome that stereotype. The folks at GAA are very open to dialogue, and that will help to move it along.

Another prominent event during the Seafood Show was a panel discussion focused on improvement projects that companies like Hy-Vee and its vendors are supporting, like wild gulf shrimp. The shrimping industry can be dirty and have a lot of issues, yet customers want shrimp. Hy-Vee is doing the right thing by supporting practices that reduce turtle bycatch. The vendor Hy-Vee works with is making sure there’s a smaller amount of turtle bycatch in its fisheries.

Pineapple makes Responsible Choice swai tacos approachable – even for those who think they don’t like fish

by Stacey Wertzberger | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

Fish tacos are all the rage now. If it’s on a tortilla, you can call it fish tacos, and if you like a lot of different flavors, as I do, this recipe is one you’ll want to try.

Because swai – one of the Responsible Choice options in Hy-Vee’s seafood case – has such a mild flavor, it will take on the flavors whatever it is prepared with.

This recipe uses canned pineapple tidbits in juice, so that helps keep the fish very moist and adds both tanginess and sweetness. The crunch of the cabbage, carrots and onions are like taking a big, fresh bite out of summer.

We’ve prepared these fish tacos in our kitchen on a couple of occasions and served it on flatbread. The pineapple makes it very approachable. Our customers tell us they didn’t realize they would like it so much, especially those who believed they would only like fried fish.

This is a very healthy way to prepare fish. It’s a nice surprise for people who want to have healthy food that still tastes good.


Fish Tacos with Pineapple Slaw

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 swai fillets
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 8 (6-inch) tortillas
  • 1 c. cabbage, shredded
  • ¼ c. carrots, shredded
  • ¼ c. cucumber, thinly sliced and seeded
  • ¼ c. red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ c. canned pineapple tidbits, with juice
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
  • ¼ c. thousand island dressing
  • ¼ c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet with nonstick spray, season swai fillets with lemon pepper and cook in the oven for 12-16 minutes until 145 degrees or until white and flaky. Take out of oven and set aside.

Meanwhile for the pineapple slaw, in a medium bowl add the cabbage, carrots, cucumber, red onion, pineapple tidbits with juice, and cilantro and mix until all combined. Set aside.

For the tangy dressing, in a small bowl add the dressing and yogurt and mix until all incorporated. Set aside.

To assemble the taco take one swai fillet and shred the fish onto two tortillas. Add a little over a ¼ cup of the slaw mixture on each taco shell and drizzle with dressing. Eat and enjoy!

So, you think fish and cheese aren’t compatible? That’s just an urban myth

by Jennifer Dougherty | Pairings | Leave a comment

You may have heard that cheese and fish should never be paired because one is light and the other heavy, and the two shouldn’t meet. That’s an urban myth, and some of these ideas will demonstrate that.

If you’re cooking a dense fish, such as Hy-Vee Responsible Choice tuna, salmon, or mahi mahi, crumble some lemon Stilton over the top as you let is rest after removing it from the grill or oven. Some of the cheese will melt, but the lemon bits will remain, just as if you had grated fresh lemon over it. It’s superb.

Many people like to blacken these fishes. While you’re letting the fish rest, top it with some Maytag Blue cheese crumbles, then serve it with a ramekin of mango chutney.

My personal favorite is Cajun shrimp on a bed of spinach with carrots and shallots. I use raw, peeled and deveined shrimp. Throw it in a pan with some olive oil, throw in the Cajun seasonings and cook for about five minutes. When it’s done, drizzle some of the seasonings over it and top with BelGioioso, a four-cheese blend of Asiago, Parmesan, Romano and Fontina. The Fontina melts to give it a buttery texture. This is a good source of protein in one meal.

Some of the hard cheeses from Italy also pair well with seafood. Some basic rules of thumb:

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • If you’re making a pasta Alfredo with seafood, use a four-blend Asiago mix.
  • If you’re making seafood chowder, use Asiago if the base is white. If the base is red, use Parmigiano Reggiano – this is one of the cheeses I never substitute.

Another divine pairing is fresh halibut with goat cheese and herbs. It’s not just a piece of fish or a piece of cheese, but how well they pop together. The cheese is so tangy. You could use a garlic and herb goat cheese, but if you’re using fresh herbs, I’d go with the plain.

Satori basil and olive oil cheese is a great complement with a mild fish, such as tilapia. Just make a breading using panko, Italian herbs and sun dried tomatoes, then top it with the grated cheese before baking.

My colleague Chris Smith, also a cheese specialist at the Urbandale Hy-Vee store, likes to serve Satori black pepper cheese with smoked Responsible Choice salmon on an appetizer plate.

Macaroni and cheese is huge and there are a multitude of recipes around. I like to make mine with gorgonzola, a veined Italian blue cheese, and lobster and peas – maybe some carrots to make it more colorful. You can also use shrimp, shredded tilapia or salmon in this recipe.

Shrimp, lobster and oysters (if you can find an option with the Responsible Choice logo) pair well with baked brie, spinach and fresh herbs. Just put them all together in a puff pastry shell. The flavors all work very well together.

In all of these pairings, it’s all about the taste experience. It’s not just about the fish, or the cheese, but how pairing them takes each to a new level.

Responsible Choice Seafood Recipe Highlight: Have a Taste of Summer with These wild Salmon Recipes

by Stacey Wertzberger | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

In a winter that seems to have gone on and on, here are two recipes featuring Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice frozen wild salmon that will fast forward to the summer months.

One of my favorite recipes is Grilled Salmon with Blueberry and Corn Relish. I like it because it’s colorful – I’m all about color – and because you can get your fruit, vegetables and protein all at the same time.

When cooking, I always make sure everything looks appealing so you don’t have to garnish and it looks artistic without even having to try.

This combination is something you might not think about, but once you’ve tried it, I think you’ll like it. A lot of people pair salmon with mango or a fresh pico, but this is like a blueberry pico de gallo.

Another great recipe as warm weather months approach is grilled wild salmon served on flatbread and garnished with a refreshing cucumber relish. Very much like a salmon gyro, it’s a nice fresh, crunchy and light sandwich for summer.

When we sampled this to customers, we got a nice response. They liked the freshness and because it’s light, it made them think of summer.


Grilled Wild Salmon with Corn and Blueberry Relish

All you need:

  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • ½ medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced finely
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 4 (5 oz. each) wild salmon fillets
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

All you do:

  1. To cook the corn, place in boiling water for about 5-7 minutes. Cool and cut the kernels from the cob.
  2. To prepare the relish add the red onion, blueberries, and jalapeno to the corn.
  3. In a mason jar or shaker with lid, place the vinegar, lemon juice, honey and cumin and shake. Add to the corn mixture.
  4. To grill the salmon, heat grill to high. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon, skin-side-down, with the cover closed, until golden brown and a crust has formed, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Turn the salmon over and continue grilling for 3 to 4 minutes for medium doneness.
  6. Place salmon on a plate and add one-fourth the relish to each filet. Enjoy!

Grilled Wild Salmon Sandwiches with a Cucumber Relish

  • 6 (5 oz) wild salmon fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 pita bread

Cucumber Relish

  • 1 English cucumber- cut in ½ lengthwise, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ red onion- thinly sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato- cut in quarters, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove- minced
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

To prepare the cucumber relish, add all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix together until all incorporated, and set aside.

Dill Yogurt Sauce

nutritionFacts

  • ½ c. reduced fat mayonnaise
  • ½ c. plain Greek yogurt (0% Fat)
  • 2 tsp. dill weed
  • 1 clove garlic- minced
  • ½ tsp. celery salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper

In a separate bowl add the mayonnaise and Greek yogurt together until all incorporated. Add the dill weed, garlic, celery salt and pepper to the mayonnaise mixture and set aside.

To grill the wild salmon
Heat grill to high, and season salmon with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon, skin side down, with the cover closed, until golden brown and a crust has formed, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the salmon over and continue grilling for 3 to 4 minutes for medium doneness.

To prepare the sandwich take the pita and lightly place pita on grill for 30-45 seconds on each side. Take the pita off the grill, add about a tablespoon of the dill yogurt sauce to ½ the pita, place 1 grilled salmon filet on top of the sauce, and place the cucumber relish on top.

Enjoy!

What was that Fish? Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Initiative Means New Varieties are Showing Up in the Seafood Case

by Dennis Frauenholz | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

As Hy-Vee moves toward its self-imposed deadline to responsibly source all of its fresh and Hy-Vee brand frozen seafood by the end of 2015, customers will begin seeing some new varieties in the seafood case.

One variety our customers may not be familiar with is sablefish. Fisheries in Alaska have been harvesting this tasty, buttery fish since the 1800s, and new management practices have eliminated some of the problems that nearly depleted sablefish populations in the 1970s.

Before practices changed to trawl-and-pot, the fisheries used longline methods. The whales really love it because it’s very tasty, and they would eat the fish right off the lines, decimating the fisheries’ catch – a whale’s going to do what a whale’s going to do.

You’ll love it, too. Sablefish, which some people know as black cod, is one of best fish out there to eat, but one of the reasons people haven’t heard much about sablefish is that large quantities are shipped overseas to Japan, where there’s a high reverence for it.

Sablefish, like halibut, has a relatively short season, but it’s in season now, so we’ll be able to get it fresh in our stores.

Hy-Vee is also getting a farm-raised salmon that has earned the go-ahead from Monterey Bay and bears our Responsible Choice seal of approval. There are myriad issues related to farm-raised salmon, so it often gets all lumped together. But Verlasso, an Atlantic farm-raised salmon raised in Chile away from development is an exception.

Two big issues with farm-raised salmon are that the fish are grown in high densities, creating a high risk of the transmission of diseases to native salmon populations, and also that the feed contains an unsustainably high amount of wild fish, making it a lose-lose proposition. But Verlasso salmon is penned with 50 percent less fish, and the fish meal has been replaced with a meal that is rich in Omega-3, but has 75 percent less fish in the meal. They’re switching out the protein, but the fish still has the same texture and is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. And there’s no net loss to the environment.

Verlasso salmon should be available in our stores by April 1.

We’ve also added Idaho Rainbow Trout from Clear Springs Foods, which I’ve previously blogged about. Clear Springs is the only trout supplier we’re featuring now. We had some others that weren’t as environmentally friendly, so this is a big change that comes with Hy-Vee’s commitment to responsibly source our seafood.

Currently, there is no farm-raised shrimp that meet Responsible Choice standards, but because shrimp is such a popular item, we’re eager to provide one for our customers. We’re getting in a cooked shrimp from Belize that is farmed in a closed system that pumps in fresh water, and the shrimp aren’t packed in as densely as at some other farms. It hasn’t hit the rating system yet.

It’s hard to read the crystal ball to determine when Monterey Bay will evaluate a species, but one thing customers can feel confident about is that, overall, we’re getting better items, even if we can’t immediately label them as Responsible Choice. The fisheries know the bar has been raised.

We’re also getting in Responsible Choice swai, which is like catfish, coming out of Vietnam. Protectionist legislation by U.S. catfish farmers means this mild white fish must be marketed under another name, so you may have seen it marketed as basa, though that’s an entirely different fish, or even under the shortened version of its scientific name, Pangasius hypophthalmus.

Another best choice-rated fish is Arctic Char, a cross between salmon and trout. It’s very tasty and has many of the characteristics of both species. It’s farm-raised in the deep, cold waters of glacial lakes, and you’ll occasionally find that in our case.

We’ve also switched to a Responsible Choice mahi mahi, a very good fish for grilling. That’s Yellow rated, as is the grouper, flounder and sole we will be getting in.

We expect to see many more new items coming in that may introduce our customers to fish they’ve never had before. It’s a process. The warehouse can’t just turn on a dime, because they have to get the assurances and checks and balances in place to make sure the fish is what the suppliers say it is.

This shows that we’re following the Responsible Choice initiative letter by letter. We’re not taking shortcuts or just assuming it’s right. Hy-Vee’s commitment is more than just words.