Rainforest Tilapia

Tilapia is by far the most versatile whitefish. This week, Hy-Vee is proud to be highlighting fresh tilapia from the rainforest region of Costa Rica.

RainForest Aquaculture tilapia always offers top-quality flavor. The pureness of the flavor can be attributed to the quality of the water source. In order to maintain the purest environment for raising tilapia, RainForest Aquaculture refreshes its ponds with water obtained from a government canal system. It is fed by a reservoir located high in the rainforest mountains above the farms. Before harvesting, every batch of fish is analyzed and taste-tested by a highly trained staff to assure the characteristic flavor of RainForest Aquaculture’s tilapia.

Tilapia filets are a rich source of protein and low in calories. Tilapia contains no trans-fats or carbohydrates and is a rich source of essential minerals and vitamins. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes that tilapia is one of the safest fish for human consumption, with the lowest level of mercury concentration.

Stop in and sample RainForest Tilapia Friday, November 3, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., and Saturday, November 4, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Arctic Circle Salmon

The Copper River and Bristol Bay are world-class Alaska salmon fisheries. This week, your local Hy-Vee is featuring keta salmon from a fishery north of the Arctic Circle called Kotzebue Sound.

Fed by the pristine waters of the Noatak, Selawik and Kobuk Rivers, the nutrient-rich Kotzebue Sound provides an ideal habitat for ocean-caught keta. The Arctic keta fishery located here is integral to the community of Kotzebue, largely comprised of the Inupiat people, who have inhabited the region of Kotzebue since at least the 15th century. Kotzebue residents depend on subsistence fishing for their personal use and commercial fishing for income. Fishing has traditionally been the lifeblood of the community, and salmon are revered as a most precious resource.

 

Hy-Vee has partnered with Copper River Seafoods to help support the community and livelihood of the native residents by promoting this sustainable resource of wild keta salmon.

Arctic keta salmon are distinguished by their exceptionally high-quality taste, bright color, firm texture and high omega-3 fat content.  It’s the ideal salmon for those who prefer a milder flavor salmon and will complement any marinade or sauce.

Stop at your local Hy-Vee and try some of the finest keta salmon Alaska can provide. Every purchase will help support the fishermen of Kotzebue and their community.

Photo credit: Alsaka Seafood Marketing Institute & Copper River Seafood

Copper River Salmon

Hy-Vee Responsible Choice wild salmon, caught from Alaska’s Copper River, are some of the very first salmon to arrive in stores when the fresh wild season opens in mid-May. This yearly event attracts media attention and draws foodies from around the globe. The celebration kicks off with the first fish arriving in Seattle aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing jet, a plane that features a huge mural image of salmon along the entire length of the jet.

The consumer demand for this product has grown each year with foodies eagerly waiting for the first salmon to arrive in their local Hy-Vee. The pure, pristine environment of the Copper River helps to create an omega-3 powerhouse. Copper River salmon begin their journey 300 miles downstream at the mouth of the Copper River, then make the long trek up through fast currents and unspoiled glacial-fed waters to reach their spawning grounds. This trek requires the salmon to store extra energy in the form of fat. The one-of-a-kind flavor and texture generates from this fat and makes any seafood lover’s mouth water. It is truly some of the highest prized salmon in the world.

The Copper River takes its name from the rich copper deposits found along its banks. This massive body of water has 13 major tributaries, is one mile wide and runs at seven miles per hour. The Copper River is the 10th largest river in the United States, and is home to some of finest, well-managed salmon stocks in the world. Alaska’s successful management practices are considered a model of sustainability for the rest of the world. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game monitors fish populations at several points along the Copper River and counts salmon heading up the river to ensure that an adequate number migrate to spawning grounds to reproduce each year. Policies like this have helped Alaska maintain one of the world’s most abundant sources of delicious wild seafood for generations to come. This is why we proudly place our Hy-Vee Responsible Choice label on wild Alaska salmon.

Alaska Pollock: The Forgotten Protein

When it comes to picking and choosing seafood, many customers look past this healthy, Responsible Choice protein. For many years, pollock was known as the cheapest option in seafood and was widely consumed by households, schools and local fish fries in the form of fish sticks and fried fish.

Alaska pollock is slowly gaining momentum and returning to the table in different forms. From surimi to trendy fish tacos, it is the most versatile of all whitefish varieties. Alaska pollock is easy to prepare, delivering a mild, appealing flavor with consistent snow-white flesh and a tender texture that has excellent flaking qualities, meeting the taste preferences of consumers who prefer more delicate fish. Alaska pollock is delicious poached, baked, broiled, steamed, sautéed or deep-fried, and can be paired with any number of flavors and ingredients.

Alaska’s most abundant seafood species, genuine Alaska pollock is a member of the cod family—not to be confused with Atlantic pollock, which is darker, oilier and ‘fishier’ tasting. The most versatile of the Alaska whitefish varieties, Alaska pollock holds its own in a variety of different preparations.

If you are looking for a low-cost, good-tasting, healthy protein, look no further than this Alaska species. Visit Hy-Vee today and select Alaska pollock and all the other ingredients you need for a delicious and healthy meal.

Think Healthy, Think Local

Nestled in America’s Heartland – an area typically known for its endless rows of corn fields – lies one of the largest state-of-the-art aquaculture farms of its kind. VeroBlue Farms in Blairsburg, Iowa, raises one of the healthiest seafood species available today: “America’s Sea Bass” or barramundi.

When it comes to a farmed species, barramundi is just about perfect. VeroBlue’s proprietary aquaculture system creates a self-contained, nourishing environment where the fish grow firm and meaty for remarkably great taste, with no impact on the environment or disruption of nature. Using the natural elements of air, water and care, VeroBlue can replicate perfect growing conditions, allowing the fish to thrive. This provides seafood that’s delicious, healthy and extraordinarily sustainable. Because the fish are raised in VeroBlue’s ultramodern self-contained environment, they have no environmental impacts and receive Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice logo of approval.

VeroBlue Farms’ land-based, farm-raised barramundi deliver a one-of-a-kind flavor that has quickly become a favorite of many fish lovers. Similar to wild-caught coho salmon, barramundi is also a natural source of beneficial heart and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, making it one of the healthiest proteins to eat.

From the beginning, Hy-Vee has helped and supported this Iowa-based company by offering its sustainable barramundi to consumers. Consumers today want local, fresh and sustainable seafood options. VeroBlue’s facilities are less than 90 miles away from Hy-Vee’s fresh distribution center in Ankeny, Iowa.

Not only can you find this fresh, delicious fish behind the Hy-Vee seafood counter, but you can also find it featured on Hy-Vee’s Market Grille seasonal menu.

To learn more about VeroBlue Farms, click here to visit their website.

Responsible Choice Lobster Tails

When it comes to sourcing Responsible Choice spiny lobster tails, Hy-Vee looks to the mecca of the Caribbean – the Bahamas. The Bahamas are known for their breathtaking beaches and crystal clear waters, but in these waters lies a rich, environmentally responsible source of spiny lobsters. These creatures play a huge role in the economy of the Bahamas and they rely on a strict management process to maintain this resource for future generations to enjoy.

Unlike American lobsters, spiny lobsters have a spiny hard shell for protection and lack large front claws. These warm-water lobster tails are smooth and have a spotted, greenish shell. Their soft texture and delicate flavor make them a favorite among chefs and foodies around the world.

In the Bahamas’ spiny lobster fishery, “condominiums” – or “casitas” – are placed by fisherman on the sea floor. Spiny lobsters seek shelter beneath this protective enclosure. Over time these man-made structures have become a permanent habitat for marine life, including the spiny lobsters. Divers from skiff boats dive down and lift up these condos and harvest lobsters that have a carapace length of at least 3.25 inches. Hooks are used to pull the lobsters out from under the condo. The lobsters are then carried to the surface where they are immediately placed in ice holds on the skiff. Once aboard the skiff, the tails are removed and they’re delivered to the mother-ship. Once full, the ship heads back to the mainland where they are processed, tested, cleaned, graded, frozen and then packed into 10-pound cases for delivery to the United States.

Upon arrival in the U.S., Hy-Vee requires that the lobsters are U.S.D.C. inspected to ensure that they are of the best quality before selling them to our customers to enjoy.

If you’re still in need of a dinner that will “wow” your valentine, stop at your local Hy-Vee seafood counter and ask for these fresh and delicious tails from Bahamas lobsters, which are featured in this week’s ad. You can even share the lobster’s story with your sweetheart and tell him or her that you made a Responsible Choice for them.

Alaska Crab: On Sale Now

It’s time for our annual crab and seafood sale, the absolute best time of the year to pick up some of Alaska’s most prized and sustainable resources. All Alaska crab sold by Hy-Vee is labeled with our Responsible Choice logo because Alaska crab fisheries are some of the best-managed wild fisheries in the world.
In Alaska, crab is king. No other shellfish in the world offers such widespread appeal than Alaska King Crab. Harvested from the icy waters off Alaska, this shellfish is always sweet, succulent and flavorful. It is also nutritious, low in fat and is unmatched for its natural rich flavor and tender texture. The largest and most impressive of all the crabs caught in the world, Alaska King Crab lends itself to a variety of attractive plate presentations from appetizers, chowders and soups to main course entries.

All of Hy-Vee’s Alaska King Crab is fully cooked and ready to eat; just heat and eat. I suggest pre-scoring the legs with a butter knife before heating to make the cracking a lot easier. Melt butter, add little garlic powder and enjoy! If you have any questions on how to prepare it, just ask your local Hy-Vee seafood crew.

Celebrate the holidays this year with Responsible Choice Alaska King Crab. You and your guests will love it!

Heading To The Source Part Two: Island Fit For Kings

Jason and John

Last month I had the opportunity again to visit the mecca of sustainable seafood, this time on Akutan Island, Alaska, during the peak of the king crab season. This time I was accompanied by Jason Pride, Assistant Vice President of Meat/Seafood Operations at Hy-Vee.

Akutan Island is located in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands chain, approximately 750 miles southwest of Anchorage. This is one the most remote places in the world. On the map, it looks like a desolate island that lies in the middle of the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean. However, this island houses one of the largest seafood processing facilities in North America, which is owned and operated by Hy-Vee’s seafood partner Trident Seafood. With more than 1,400 company-housed employees on site during peak seasons, this year-round, multi-species frozen seafood operation is capable of processing more than 3 million pounds of raw seafood each day. Wild Alaska pollock – which is the Bering Sea’s most abundant sustainable whitefish – is the main focus of this facility. This day the focus was not pollock, but instead Responsible Choice Alaska king crab.

How remote is this facility? There are only two ways in: by boat or by helicopter. First you must find a break in the weather to get a plane into the neighboring island of Akun. Other than the airport, the only thing on the island is a small herd of wild cattle that were originally brought in as a food source for locals. Once you arrive at the airport, you must then get on a boat and brave the open water or take a helicopter to Akutan Island. Your stay on Akutan may change at any time depending on Mother Nature, meaning you could be stuck there for a while.

The weather was in our favor, but only for six hours. After that point, we had to get off the island and in the air, otherwise we could have been temporarily stranded there. We did our best with the time we had to tour the massive seafood processing facility in full production of processing king crab from start to finish. It was truly a sight to see! Jason and I had the privilege to handle some of these deep cold water creatures as they were being offloaded into the facility.

Jason John and Sig

Part of the tour took place on Sig Hansen’s famous Northwestern crab boat, which was offloading its final catch of the year. I will never forget chatting and hearing stories from Sig and his crew. The crew was tired but in great spirits as their king crab season was coming to an end after only two weeks. The word on the docks from the fishermen was that king crab was bountiful and crab were everywhere. This was great news after preliminary management test catches came back poor, which resulted in large quota cuts on all Alaska crab.

Our tour of Akutan Island came to end as we received word that we needed to leave in order to beat the weather and move on to the next leg of our trip to Kodiak, Alaska. Here lies another community built on sustainable fishing. The shorelines were lined with seafood processing facilities. None stood out more than that of Trident’s trio of facilities: Star of Kodiak, Pillar Mountain and its newest expansion, the Near Island facility. This facility houses a new fully-automated production line for pollock and salmon. The facility features renewable energy produced by a combination of hydroelectric and wind generators. It was amazing to see the full-automation process in operation processing pollock. The only human interaction and handling was at the time of checking weights on cases before they head into the blast freezers to be frozen. This automation takes food safety to the next level.

Crab

Our journey gave new meaning to the phrase “Heading to the Source.” Seafood is truly a global industry that one cannot fully understand by reading an article or by surfing the Internet. To fully understand it, you must be there as the product is being offloaded, processed and packed. But most importantly, seeing the communities, families and fisherman firsthand and witnessing their passion gave us the will to support and sustain these fisheries!

Crew

The Perfect Oyster

Oysters have been a favorite delicacy for centuries. Today, oysters often are enjoyed in restaurants, but they also are available at your local Hy-Vee grocery store. The demand for these tasty mollusks has never been stronger. Because of increased demand, cultured or farmed oysters help support and take some of the pressure off of wild stocks.

Seafood lovers often look for a clean-tasting oyster, especially when eating them raw. This is what you’ll find in our Responsible Choice Gold Band Oysters from Motivatit Seafoods. The Motivatit company was founded in Houma, Louisiana, by Ernest Voisin in 1971. Today, the Voisin family continues to operate the business. The company has 16,000 acres of natural water bottom, spread throughout the Louisiana coastline. Its fleet consists of 20 to 30 boats ranging in size from 20 feet to 80 feet.

Gold Band Oysters are harvested, processed and shipped fresh and quicker than those of any other company in the industry. The award-winning pre-shucked Gold Band Oysters are made possible by their patented, USDA-approved High Pressure Processing technology. The process reduces harmful bacteria to non-detectable levels and uses no heat, therefore the process has little effect on the taste or texture of the oyster. Prior to the process, gold plastic bands are heat-shrunk around each oyster to assure that the oyster’s liquid remains within its shell. This process undergoes quarterly tests through private laboratories to assure the validity of its results.

Gold Band Oysters make it easy for any consumer to open and enjoy. There is no need to become an expert in shucking; simply cut the bands and grab a butter knife to pop open and enjoy. When looking for that perfect oyster this holiday season, stop in your local Hy-Vee seafood market and look for the oysters wrapped in gold!

http://www.theperfectoyster.com/