Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Rainbow Trout, A U.S. Commodity

With global seafood consumption on the rise, it must be a priority for suppliers and retailers alike to be conscious of environmental impact, responsible sourcing and food safety implications of the seafood they produce and sell to consumers. That is why Hy-Vee began the Responsible Choice initiative. Through the program, Hy-Vee has established specific guidelines to offer high-quality seafood that is safe for consumption and harvested in a manner that provides for a sustainable future.

As of this January, 79 percent of Hy-Vee’s fresh and private label frozen seafood met the goal of being responsibly sourced and traceable or in a time-bound improvement process by year-end 2015. Rainbow trout is no exception.

A member of the salmon family, wild trout are anadromous, spending part of their life cycle in freshwater as rainbow trout and part in salt water as steelhead trout. Farmers in the United States began commercially raising rainbow trout during the 1960s.

The most common production system for U.S. farmed rainbow trout is called a “raceway” – where farmers divert water from natural waterways, such as rivers and streams, into a channel containing the trout. The water is then treated before being discharged back into the original waterway. U.S.-farmed trout are then fed using a formulation of relatively low levels of fishmeal and fish oil, reducing the impacts to wild fish populations.

Regulation of rainbow trout farms in the U.S. is considered effective, as best management practices have been shared and utilized on a nation-wide scale. Through a system of checks and balances, trout farmers are able to monitor the health of the trout and its safety for human consumption.

Rainbow trout farmed in the U.S. has been given a Green “Best Choice” rating by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program due to the environmentally friendly production methods used, and the minimal impact to habitats or other wildlife.

Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice rainbow trout is sourced in a region called the Magic Valley in Idaho by Clear Springs Foods, which upholds the high standards established through Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice initiative. Hy-Vee continues to keep our consumers and the environment top of mind to ensure a safe, traceable and responsible selection of seafood is available to our customers.

Recipe Spotlight: Lemon Caper Responsible Choice Rainbow Trout with Sautéed Garlic Spinach

Lemon Caper Responsible Choice Rainbow Trout with Sautéed Garlic Spinach

All you need:

Trout

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 4 (4 to 6 oz each) Clear Springs Rainbow Trout fillets, head and tail removed
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Sautéed Spinach

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • squeeze of fresh lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:

Trout

  1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Pat fillets dry. Dredge fillets in flour and pat off excess.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until melted. Add fillets to pan, skin side up, and cook about 3 minutes or until golden. Carefully turn fish and continue to cook on the other side 2 to 3 minutes longer or until fish is opaque throughout. Remove fish to a serving platter and keep warm. (This may have to be done two at a time, depending on the size of the sauté pan).
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and melt. Add shallots, lemon zest and capers and sauté for 1 minute; add lemon juice and heat through.

Sautéed Spinach

  1. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add butter and garlic.
  2. Sauté until garlic is fragrant and then add spinach; sauté until slightly wilted. Aadd tomatoes, squeeze of lemon and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve fillets atop sautéed spinach and spoon over lemon-caper sauce.

Adding Responsible Choice Seafood to Your Traditional Christmas Dinner

Responsible Choice seafood is a delicious and easy way to improve your health year-round, and it is a great way to bring a lighter dish to your holiday table.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming fish two times per week with servings of 3.5 ounces or about 3/4 cup of flaked fish. Seafood is naturally high in essential vitamins like A, E, D and C and minerals like zinc, iron, calcium and selenium. Seafood is also low in calories, and cholesterol in shellfish is equal to the amount of cholesterol in lean beef.

Yet traditional holiday dinners often include other main courses such as turkey, ham, roasts or prime rib. For a flavorful and nutritious dinner option, consider adding Responsible Choice seafood to your spread using fatty fish such as wild Alaska salmon, Hy-Vee Select canned pole and troll albacore tuna or U.S.-farmed rainbow trout. Fatty fish tend to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids which have several health benefits that may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation and assist with brain function. Most seafood has no saturated fat content, which will provide a great option for your guests watching their fat intake.

Don’t know how to add Responsible Choice seafood to your Christmas dinner? Here are a variety of delicious, healthy ideas:

  • Marinate and grill in aluminum foil
  • Use in casseroles instead of beef or chicken
  • Use in sandwiches and salads for a lean protein
  • Pan-fry in a small amount of olive oil with your favorite herbs and seasonings
  • Use in a stir-fry with your favorite vegetables
  • Incorporate into a light pasta dish
  • Use in your favorite soup and stew recipes

Hy-Vee makes it easy for you to make these healthy choices for the holidays. Hy-Vee Responsible Choice seafood comes from the best, top-quality suppliers in the industry. Hy-Vee employs a full-time, in-house U.S. Department of Commerce federal inspector, and the seafood program is U.S. Federal Drug Administration and Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point-approved. Our warehouse has fresh seafood arriving daily by plane or truck and it’s lot-inspected for quality and wholesomeness.

Look for Responsible Choice seafood at your local Hy-Vee today.

Clear Springs Rainbow Trout Sets the Industry Standard for Aquaculture

As FishWise helps Hy-Vee develop the strategies necessary to meet its commitment to customers to responsibly source its fresh and frozen Hy-Vee fish and seafood by the end of 2015, we’ve come across some incredible sustainability success stories.

One of the best comes from Clear Springs Trout Farm. I met them at the Seafood Expo North America, formerly known as the Boston Seafood Show. That vendor in particular is doing a great job, and they produce a ton of fish. It’s domestic and not imported, and is produced fairly close to Hy-Vee stores, so it has a low carbon footprint compared to some other species.

Visiting one-on-one with vendors and forming the relationships that are so important in advancing the Responsible Choice policy, I had the chance to learn a little more about an operation that is truly a model for aquaculture – and produces some delicious trout.

The trout are farmed in land-based raceways with a closed containment system that has earned a Green “Best Choice” rating from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. There’s also no evidence of large-scale escapes, indicating the raceway systems are effective in containing farmed fish from wild trout populations. Disease risk to wild populations isn’t a major concern – though a lack of data suggests that it should be studied more.

The flow-through raceway system uses continuously flowing pristine spring water. The waste is managed very well. The raceways are designed so waste settles at the bottom and is easy to clean out, so it doesn’t end up going into any nearby bodies of water. The risk of pollution is low.

The feed is Yellow Rated by Seafood Watch because some fish oil and fish meal from wild fisheries are used, but it’s a relatively low amount.

Clear Springs Rainbow Trout is a fish people can feel good about eating because it’s such a model for other aquaculture species. I would encourage people to try it; it’s more robust than some fish, but good for someone with an adventurous palate. It has a delicate texture and is a good substitute for less sustainable species like haddock or snapper.

For some ideas on how to prepare this tasty fish, click here for two delicious rainbow trout recipes.

Recipe Spotlight: Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Rainbow Trout Stars in Cajun Seasonings, Lemon Caper Sauce


One of my favorite Responsible Choice items in the Hy-Vee seafood case is Idaho rainbow trout from Clear Springs Foods – definitely the leaders in the industry for sustainable trout.

As part of our commitment to responsibly source all of our fresh and frozen Hy-Vee brand fish and seafood by the end of 2015, Clear Springs is the only rainbow trout supplier we’re featuring now.

Rainbow trout is low in fat, high in nutrients and is versatile, so it can be prepared many ways. Here are a couple of my favorites:


Cajun Rainbow Trout

All you need:

Cajun Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp Spanish paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Trout:

  • 4 (6 oz each) Responsible Choice rainbow trout fillets (1/2-inch thick)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • lemon wedges, as needed

All you do:

  1. For seasoning: mix all the ingredients together to create a spice rub, to be used in the preparation of the fish. The recipes makes enough seasoning for use a second time.
  2. Preheat the broiler.
  3. Pat fillets dry and lightly brush both sides with oil.
  4. Sprinkle both sides evenly with Cajun seasoning.
  5. Place skin-side-down on broiler rack.
  6. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  7. Arrange on a platter; sprinkle with parsley and chopped green onion. Serve with lemon wedges.

Lemon Caper Rainbow Trout

All you need:

  • 2 (4 oz each) Responsible Choice rainbow trout fillets, skin removed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp whole butter
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon

All you do:

  1. Heat a heavy pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Season fish on meat side with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge fish in flour and shake off excess.
  3. When pan is hot, add oil. Place fish in pan; keep moving pan to prevent the fish from sticking. Cook until a crust forms on meat. Carefully turn fish over and finish cooking. Remove and keep warm.
  4. To make the sauce, remove the oil from the pan, add 2 tablespoons butter and sauté the capers, shallots and garlic. Remove pan from the heat, add lemon juice and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over fish and serve.

Hy-Vee’s Seafood Cases are Brimming with Responsible Choice Options from Around the World

Seafood Case

The seafood cases at Hy-Vee stores are brimming with sustainable seafood options, branded Responsible Choice to demonstrate our commitment to healthy choices for your family, the environment, and the world’s oceans and the various species they support.

One of the best choices is Idaho rainbow trout from Clear Springs Foods. They are definitely the leaders in the industry for Responsible Choice trout, and 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 all of its fresh and store brand frozen seafood by the end of 2015.

Clear Springs Foods made the grade because the fish are farm-raised in a closed system of concrete raceways fed by pristine natural spring waters. The same company provides ready-to-bake options, such as Parmesan-crusted Idaho rainbow trout.

Customers can also feel confident about Pacific cod, which is probably the most recognized fish in the world. People like this white fish because of its mild flavor and low fat content. Back in the day, sea merchants traded cod for supplies, and Atlantic stocks have collapsed as a result. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has rated some Atlantic cod fisheries as a Red ‘Avoid’ because of the long history of overfishing.

Pacific cod, on the other hand, has been very well managed, so the stocks are good. Our cod comes from Alaska, where limits have been imposed on what can be caught and how much can be caught.

Previously frozen, this Pacific cod coming out of Alaskan waters lives close to the sea floor and is caught in pots – not by bottom trawls – and bycatch is mostly eliminated. If other species are caught, they remain alive and they can be thrown back into the water. With longlines, which aren’t included in the sustainable practices we require at Hy-Vee, the fish can be dead when it’s pulled into the boat.

Halibut is another popular responsibly sourced Pacific fish. Its availability is limited, though, because limits were put in place because conservationists have noticed there haven’t been as many juveniles. We’ll see more fresh supplies in early March – great timing, as this is a good grilling fish.

A good starter fish for people who want to introduce more seafood into their diets is tilapia, which Hy-Vee brings in fresh from Ecuador. It’s a clean, white fish that takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it. If you want a non-fishy-tasting fish, tilapia is the way to go. Tilapia are vegetarians, so farmers don’t have to use fish meal or other fish, making it very environmentally friendly. It’s also a good value fish.

Very close to tilapia in taste is swai or basa, a less common name for this river fish from Vietnam. It’s a type of catfish.

Another very popular Responsible Choice in the Midwest is channel catfish, a river fish that many of us grew up with and know well. Hy-Vee’s catfish is domestic and farm-raised in ponds, mostly in Mississippi. We offer it in three forms: as fillets (the most expensive option), whole fish (about $3 less per pound than fillets) and as catfish nuggets (the most affordable variety).

Also popular are ahi tuna and swordfish, which are pole caught in Indonesia without using other fish as bait. Each shipment comes with a letter certifying that it was caught using this sustainable practice. Both are great grilling-weather fish.

Our Responsible Choice initiative has changed what’s available in the seafood case, and in some cases introduced people to some new fish. Our customers are overwhelmingly supportive of this and think Hy-Vee is doing the right thing.