Verlasso Salmon

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!

The Ultimate Holiday Seafood Entertaining Guide

The holidays are upon us and there’s no better way to celebrate family and friends than with delicious seafood. It’s often a busy and hectic time, filled with lots of food, so it’s important to keep up your omega-3 intake by incorporating more seafood into your celebrations.

One way to do so: Start with seafood appetizers! Seafood is among the highest-quality proteins and offers many additional health benefits, such as reducing risk for heart disease, improving how you feel during pregnancy, and helping your child develop a healthy brain and eyes.

We’ve rounded up our top three seafood appetizer recipes to help you kick-start your holiday entertaining. Dig in!

Old Bay Shrimp Stacks [developed by Cara Harbstreet of Street Smart Nutrition for SNP’s Start with Seafood Recipe Contest]

 

 

Smoked Salmon Avocado Flatbread [developed by Julie Harrington of RDelicious Kitchen for SNP’s Start with Seafood Recipe Contest]

 

 

Smoked Trout Brandade [developed by Linda Schneider of Wild Greens & Sardines for SNP’s Start with Seafood Recipe Contest]

 

 

For more appetizer ideas, visit Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s blog.

Dish on Fish: Seafood Information

Dish on Fish is an excellent seafood blog where you can explore new seafood recipes and learn relevant, relatable and easy-to-understand health and nutrition information about seafood. Hy-Vee is a partner of the National Fisheries Institute, which sponsors the blog and encourages Americans to eat seafood at least twice a week, as recommended by the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Seafood is a vital part of a healthy diet. Hy-Vee strives to provide customers with high-quality, Responsible Choice seafood and our Seafoodies blog provides detailed information and tips. We want to share Dish on Fish with you so you can find more resources, tips and recipes to help you enjoy seafood and reap its benefits.

 

From Dish on Fish:

Even longtime seafood lovers may not realize how many different flavors of fish actually exist. The spectrum of tastes ranges from mild and flaky whitefish to bold, firm-textured tuna. If you’re on the hunt for a specific flavor or perhaps seeking out a substitute for another type of fish, we have you covered!

There are three main flavor profiles for fish: mild, medium and full. Here is a little bit more guidance regarding each profile.

  • Mild (cod, sole, Alaskan pollock)
    • Mild fish are essentially a blank slate and one of the easiest kinds of fish to try for the first time. Searching for a versatile fish that can take on whatever ingredients you throw together? White fish tend to have the mildest taste out of all species and will easily accept different flavors.
  • Medium (salmon, halibut, sea bass)
    • In the middle of the spectrum, fish like salmon and halibut are mild enough to please those trying seafood for the first time, yet they have flavors that may stand on their own. Fish that offer a medium taste often need just a touch of olive oil to highlight their natural flavor, plus salt and pepper for seasoning.
  • Full (tuna, mackerel)
    • Here’s where you get the boldest taste. Hearty varieties like tuna and mackerel, considered to be full-flavored types of fish, have a savory flavor profile and a texture that’s firmer than the milder, flakier options listed above.

Understanding the Link Between Seafood and Diabetes Prevention and Care

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States, and that is why November is dedicated to diabetes education and prevention. Nearly 30 million Americans – nearly 10% of the country – have diabetes and rates are on the rise.

People who are at risk for and those who have Type 2 diabetes can significantly lower their risk and side effects by making healthy changes. By trying to make small, incremental improvements to your eating habits, you can make a huge impact on your health outcomes. The American Diabetic Association offers recommendations, tips and recipes for balanced meals, including the suggestion to eat (fatty) fish two to three times per week.

The type of fat in seafood, heart-healthy omega-3s, “helps prevent clogging of the arteries,” according to the American Diabetes Association, and has so many other benefits – including reducing inflammation, increasing insulin sensitivity, and even improving your mood (with the release of blissful serotonin) (sources below). Simply, omega-3s can improve effectiveness of insulin and reduce many of your diabetic side effects.

Additionally, this chronic disease, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., has far more reaching side effects. People with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to die from heart attack or stroke (sources below).

This Mustard Baked Mackerel is a great place to start – flavorful, affordable and, most importantly, good for you.

Mustard Baked Mackerel
From SNP Eating Heart Healthy Nutrition Program
Omega-3 Per Serving: 1,500 mg

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound mackerel fillets
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into rounds
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary

All you do:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Lightly coat sheet pan with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Place fish on pan and lightly spread mustard mixture on fish.
  4. Mix zucchini and rosemary with salt and pepper, and one tablespoon olive oil. Spread zucchini in single layer around fish, or on a separate sheet pan.
  5. Bake mackerel and zucchini in oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Can be served with brown rice or wild rice.

Sources

  • Browning LM, Krebs JD, Moore CS et al. The impact of long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on inflammation, insulin sensitivity and CVD risk in a group of overweight women with an inflammatory phenotype. Diabetes Obes Metab.2007 Jan;9(1):70-80.
  • Spencer M, Finlin BS, Unal R et al. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce adipose tissue macrophages in human subjects with insulin resistance. 2013 May;62(5):1709-17. doi: 10.2337/db12-1042.
  • Gao H, Geng T, Huang T et al. Fish oil supplementation and insulin sensitivity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lipids Health Dis.2017 Jul 3;16(1):131. doi: 10.1186/s12944-017-0528-0.
  • Danaei G, Ding EL, Mozaffarian D, et al. The preventable causes of death in the United States: comparative risk assessment of dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors. PLoS Med. 2009 Apr 28;6(4):e1000058. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000058.

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.

Alaska Pollock

Chances are you may have eaten Alaska pollock without even knowing it. That fish sandwich at your favorite restaurant or the imitation crab meat you put on your salad is likely made from Alaska pollock. Alaska pollock is often ranked as one of the top five seafood species consumed in the United States.

Alaska pollock has been the gold standard for sustainability for years. Since 2001, U.S. commercial landings of Alaska pollock have been well over 2.6 billion pounds each year on a sustainable basis. Pollock fishing has minimal impact on habitat. The fishery is a trawl fishery, meaning that large nets are pulled through the ocean above the ocean floor in an effort to avoid damaging the seabed. Pollock swim in giant schools well above the ocean floor. The pollock fishery is one of the cleanest fisheries in the world. Nearly 99 percent of the nets are filled with pollock, making for minimal by-catch.

I was lucky to be aboard a pollock trawler owned by Trident, one of Hy-Vee’s partners in sustainable Alaskan seafood.  The ship was the Island Enterprise. We visited with the captain and he showed us the sophisticated sonar and computer systems on board. All this equipment helps the trawler crew hone in on the pollock schools and helps them guide their nets to avoid bycatch. It also allows them to fish faster and more efficiently. The ship fished around the clock and only stopped to unload; we were lucky enough to catch it while it was in port for a few hours. This ship catches the fish and processes it onboard; the fish is frozen within hours of the catch.  When they are full they go to port, unload and go back out.

These efficiencies make it seem that the pollock don’t really have a chance, and the reality is they don’t.  If not for a strong commitment to sustainability, the pollock stocks could easily be wiped out by these large ships. But thanks to great management by the state of Alaska, these massive boats can pull in large amounts of fish year after year. Pollock is the most important fish that you probably didn’t know about! Maybe you’ve eaten it and never thought twice about it.

You can cook a raw piece of pollock like you would cod or haddock. You will be surprised at what great natural flavor it has. It’s delicious in fish tacos. And when you’re enjoying it, know you are eating a fish that is sustainably harvested in a way that preserves the species and the ocean it’s caught in.

Eat Your Fish!

Cod is the perfect way to get your foot in the boat with seafood. It lacks that particular “fishy” taste that many people find unappealing about seafood. So if you or someone you’re cooking for isn’t a big “fish” person and doesn’t like the smell or taste, this may be the fish to try!

Cod is an excellent mild fish that provides many benefits for your body, including being linked to the reduction of heart disease. (1, 2)

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and are associated with a lower risk of stroke and keeping cholesterol under control, particularly by reducing LDL cholesterol, or the “bad” cholesterol. (1, 2)

Cod is also rich in vitamins B6 and B12, which keep the homocysteine levels low in our bodies. This is linked to reducing the risk of heart-related problems. (3)

If you suffer from sunburns during the sunny months, cod may help provide protection against those burns with its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a natural sunscreen! (4)

Stop by your local Hy-Vee today and view our assortment of cod. A dietitian is around the corner if you have any questions about your cod or seafood purchase.

But there are still more fish in the sea to try! Once you get your feet wet with cod, you will be dying to move on to other varieties fish.

  1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. 7 things to know about omega-3 fatty acids. US Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/omega. Updated September 24, 2015.
  2. American Heart Association. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.V73B3ybQCUl. Updated June 15, 2015.
  3. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin B6 dietary supplement fact sheet. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/. Updated February 11, 2016.
  4. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Porter K, Beversdorf DQ, Lemeshow S, Glaser R. Depressive symptoms, omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids, and inflammation in older adults. Psychosom Med. 2007 April; 69(3): 217-24.

Salmon Is In the Home Stretch

The annual Alaska salmon run is in the home stretch and the time to buy fresh Alaska salmon is nearing the finish line. Summer is a great time to enjoy the bounty of Alaskan salmon. The spring brings us Copper River sockeye and king salmon, June and July bring the bounty of Bristol Bay sockeye and late July and early August bring keta salmon to the table. So here we are in late August and the sockeye are harder to find and the keta have moved up the rivers.  So where does a fresh salmon aficionado turn to this time of year?  Coho salmon is the cure for your Alaska salmon addiction.

The coho is the late summer run that is worth the wait. Every salmon species has its unique traits and the Alaska coho is no different. Typically coho salmon can be caught from late June through early October, but the biggest commercial runs occur in mid-August and September. I remember catching coho on July 4 in Alaska, but they were just beginning to show up in the area at that time. Since it comes late in the summer, the coho helps fill the demand for Alaskan salmon as sockeye and keta end their runs.

Coho salmon are similar to king salmon in taste, color and texture. Coho can be distinguished by their orange red meat color. They are the second-largest salmon, behind just the king salmon, so they make excellent steaks and fillets. They have a relatively high fat content which makes them great for grilling and smoking. They are my second-favorite salmon next to the king.  You should start to see this outstanding fresh salmon at your local Hy-Vee. The end of summer also means we’re nearing the end of fresh salmon. Nothing compares to fresh Alaskan salmon, and this may be your last chance to get some before fall closes the door on the great Alaska salmon run.

From Shrimp Farm to Shelf

As a supplier and importer of frozen shrimp for Hy-Vee, I am familiar with the process involved in getting a bag of shrimp on the grocery shelf.  However, it takes a trip to the source to be reminded of the amazing process involved in growing and harvesting the shrimp in that bag.  I was fortunate to recently visit Thailand to see that process firsthand.

Along with our sourcing team, I recently visited the Surat Thani province of Thailand, which includes a large coastline on the Gulf of Thailand.  The lush landscape, mountains and expansive views of acres of water reminded me of some of the best tropical regions I have visited.

This province has proven to be a fertile area for shrimp farming for many years and includes a proud tradition of family-owned shrimp farms.  The farmers in this region regularly meet to share best practices for their farming techniques and to discuss advancements in the industry, such as third-party sustainability certification.  The farmers have been committed to encouraging high-quality and sustainable farming practices.

We met with many shrimp farmers in the region, including a farm owned and operated by a husband and wife.  The farmers proudly walked us through the various processes and farming techniques each use for their farms, and shared with us the challenges they have faced to maintain consistent and high-quality crops.  These farmers want their crops to be not just viable, but thriving.

The process begins with the shrimp growing in nursery ponds after they first hatch, which is the most sensitive time for the shrimp and when they have the highest risk of dying.  The farmers have worked over the years to develop techniques to improve the survival rate of shrimp during this phase, including covering the nursery ponds and monitoring the water temperature and pH with sophisticated devices.

After growing in the nursery pond for two weeks, the shrimp are transferred to the larger growing ponds, where they can grow for up to 120 days to sizes as large as 1.2 ounces per shrimp (13 to 15 shrimp per pound).  The rapid growth of these shrimp is aided by a circulating water system, multiple aerators, timed feedings to ensure the shrimp receive the necessary nutrition, and testing of the water quality throughout the growth process.

The farmers know that quality is key to their long-term viability, and quality begins with ensuring shrimp grow in the right conditions.  The farms we visited all have their farms audited and certified annually by the Global Aquaculture Alliance to ensure they are following Best Aquaculture Practices, which is the industry-leading standard for shrimp aquaculture.

When the shrimp are ready for harvesting, the manual process begins. It involves pulling nets through the pond several times and manually scooping up the shrimp with buckets.  The harvest of each pond can take up to 4 hours, and many farms have 50 or more ponds at each location.

Once harvested, the shrimp are first inspected and sorted at the farm for quality.  The shrimp are then iced and transported to the plant, where they are further inspected, peeled or cooked, frozen and packed into Hy-Vee’s retail bags.

With the worldwide demand for seafood growing and limited ocean resources to meet that growing demand, high-quality aquaculture is growing in importance.  The Surat Thani farmers are seeing this increased demand for their product, and are building more ponds and farms to meet this demand.

Seeing firsthand the best practices these farmers follow to ensure their shrimp meets and exceeds the quality expectations for Hy-Vee is always worth the effort and time, and renews my appreciation for the dedication to quality these farmers demonstrate.  Hy-Vee’s commitment to placing a quality product on the shelf truly begins with these farmers.