I’m John Rohrs, seafood purchasing manager at Perishable Distributors of Iowa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hy-Vee established in 1982 to provide a central distribution system for perishable products to Iowa stores.
In my job, I work with stores to help create more sales and educate employees on seafood.
Through Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice initiative I’ve enjoyed meeting and communicating with vendors and creating the friendships that make our partnerships work.
Hy-Vee Responsible Choice wild salmon, caught from Alaska’s Copper River, will be some of the very first salmon to arrive in stores when the fresh wild season opens this week. The first 24-hour opener is set to open on May 17. 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 who shop at Hy-Vee eagerly waiting for the first salmon to arrive in their local store. The pure, pristine environment of the Copper River helps 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 generated from this fat 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 1 mile wide and runs at 7 miles per hour. The Copper River is the 10th-largest river in the United States, and is home to some of the 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.
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.
At Hy-Vee, we work with excellent suppliers, including Verlasso. Verlasso offers a more consciously-farmed, premium salmon that meets our high standards of taste and quality.
Verlasso puts the health of its salmon first. The Verlasso crew raises their salmon in the beautiful, pristine waters of Patagonia, Chile. The water is free of pollutants, creating the perfect environment for fish.
The salmon also have lots of room to swim and to grow. Verlasso’s ocean pens are spacious, with fewer than four salmon, which surpasses other producer standards. The pens are widely spaced, and after each harvest period, Verlasso leaves them empty for a period of 3 to 6 months so the water can rejuvenate. The ocean waters are 60 to 80 meters deep, with a strong tidal flow for optimal salmon growth. Verlasso doesn’t use hormones and allows its fish to grow to harvest size over a period of two years.
The company’s salmon are raised and harvested entirely on site, where the company takes pride in being able to track every moment of their lives. Verlasso can trace its fish back seven generations. Once harvested, a gill tag is put on every fillet and whole fish so that customers can learn about the region the fish come from and learn more about the farm.
Verlasso salmon has a bright and delicate flavor. With slightly more fat content than wild salmon and a higher moisture content, the result is a buttery yet firm texture. This extra moisture also makes it delightful to cook. Verlasso’s levels of omega-3 are ideal for a heart-healthy diet. Stop in at your local Hy-Vee and talk with the seafood experts about the quality of Verlasso salmon and try some of this delicious fish!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!