Great Tasting, Sustainable Tilapia Begins With A Pure Water Source

Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Rainforest Tilapia is raised in the pristine rainforest waters of Costa Rica. Rainforest Tilapia is a light, complete and sustainable protein. The fish are fed by mineral-rich reservoirs high in the volcanoes of Costa Rica, and the ponds breed pure, nutrient-rich tilapia that are luscious in flavor and free of impurities, additives, growth hormones and antibiotics.

In addition, the fish is socially responsible. Rainforest Tilapia go to work for Costa Rican ecologies — from the sustainable aquaculture practices that raise them, to reforestation projects and community enrichment programs for the elderly that they fund. A purchase of Rainforest Tilapia does more than just bring smiles to the faces of your family; it nurtures the plant, animal and human ecosystems of Central America.

Stop into your local Hy-Vee this week to sample Responsible Choice Rainforest Tilapia.

Quality & Freshness Are Top of Mind

In 1998, Hy-Vee became one of the first retailers in the Midwest to hire our own U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) lot inspector to ensure the quality, safety and integrity of the fresh seafood it buys. The USDC inspector is stationed on-site at our Perishable Distributors of Iowa (PDI) distribution facility in Ankeny, Iowa, where he routinely checks incoming shipments of fresh seafood along with some frozen, ensuring that it meets Hy-Vee’s standards. Our purchasing and sustainability policy is the strictest around. Our seafood team at PDI is meticulous in its sourcing and accountability of our suppliers. A big part of our seafood programs success is partnering with suppliers that have the same beliefs as we do.

The USDC Inspection program is a voluntary seafood inspection service to assist in meeting U.S. regulations and generally accepted seafood production best practices governing fishery products for human consumption. This service supports seafood safety and includes sanitation inspection, system and process audits, grading and inspection and product laboratory analyses.

Bryan Sauve has been Hy-Vee’s full-time inspector since 2003. Bryan is on site five days a week to help is maintain high quality standards. In 2017, Sauve received the Silver Sherman award, which recognizes individuals who have performed work above his or her normal requirements, achieved a milestone that contributed significantly or critically toward the attainment of a particular program goal, and demonstrated leadership of significant magnitude.

Pure. Fresh. Wild.

Prince William Sound, located in the North Pacific Ocean, is like no other place in the world. Surrounded by spectacular glaciers and mountains, and shielded from the open ocean by barrier islands, this unspoiled sound on Alaska’s south-central coast is home to a vast variety of wildlife. Salmon thrive in these nutrient rich waters. To preserve the sound’s rich biodiversity, the fishery upholds the highest standards of quality and sustainability, treating each fish with the utmost care.

The fisherman are committed to preserving the rich, natural legacy of Prince William Sound, handling every fish with care and employing artisan-harvesting practices honed over generations. They are independent fishermen who set out on small one and two man boats to catch salmon using time tested gill-nets. Each salmon is handled minimally, delivered quickly, and inspected individually to guarantee excellence.

Prince William Sound Alaskan salmon’s rich flavor, dense texture, and vibrant color comes from the world’s richest waters that they thrive in. High in omega-3 fatty acids, wild Alaskan salmon is known for its incredible health benefits and delicious taste. Best of all, Prince William Sound Sockeye salmon are harvested sustainably and processed in small batches, so you know you are doing good while getting the best.

Your choice matters. When you purchase Prince William Sound sockeye salmon, you are making a good choice for your family and the planet. Sustainability is not a recent trend in Alaska. In 1956 the framers of the Alaska Constitution recognized the importance of protecting Alaska’s abundant natural resources. Article 8 of the Constitution states that “fish…be utilized, developed, and maintained on the sustained yield principle.” This dedication to sustainable management has resulted in an ever-replenishing supply of wild salmon for generations to come. This is why all Alaska Sockeye Salmon is proudly labeled with Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice logo.

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.

The Perfect Shrimp. The Perfect Partner.

When the PDI Seafood Buying Team is sourcing seafood for Hy-Vee, quality comes first. The team demands perfection when looking for a supplier. And that’s what the team found in Paul Piazza and Son and Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice wild shrimp program: the perfect shrimp with the perfect supplier.

Since Paul Piazza began selling fresh seafood from New Orleans’ famous French Market 120 years ago, the fourth-generation family-owned and operated business has been driven by passion and commitment to supplying the country with the freshest, best-tasting and highest quality Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp that the nutrient-rich in-shore waters of Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico have to offer.

Paul Piazza and Son is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. Premium Gulf of Mexico Domestic Shrimp is its only business. It is one of the largest processors in the domestic industry and has the capacity to offer over 25 million pounds of Gulf Domestic Shrimp from its state-of-the-art USDC plants in Louisiana and Texas.

Renewed Standard of Excellence

Like much of the New Orleans region, Paul Piazza and Son’s business was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Owners and managers looked at the situation as an opportunity to not only rebuild, but also reinvent their company, increase their capabilities and achieve their goal of becoming the source for premium Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp.

Re-energized, they opened a state-of-the-art processing facility in Delcambre, Louisiana, and modernized their New Orleans plant using cutting edge technology. They also expanded their distribution and product mix.

This expansion and innovation has helped Paul Piazza and Son become the shrimp sourcing, processing and national distribution powerhouse that it is today.

Premium Process

Paul Piazza and Son’s vertically integrated shrimp processing business keeps it as close to its products as possible and allows it total quality control — from the moment the shrimp is harvested from the nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf until it’s delivered to your Hy-Vee store.

Paul Piazza and Son contracts the Gulf’s top shrimp boat captains to work exclusively with its company. The committed boats then unload their catch of wild-caught white and brown shrimp in the company’s state-of-the-art processing facilities. The product is next sorted and packed to Hy-Vee specifications and then delivered to the PDI warehouse where it is ready to ship to your Hy-Vee store.

Paul Piazza and Son and Hy-Vee/PDI have plans to grow our partnership and look forward to expanding the Responsible Choice wild shrimp program in Hy-Vee stores, making it readily available for Hy-Vee customers’ dinner tables.

Anova – Swordfish

Swordfish, also named as the “Gladiator” because of its sharp bill, is a highly migratory large fish that is found in tropical and temperate waters across the globe.  Swordfish are known to use their sharp “sword” to hunt and feed on other offshore species like squid and octopus.

Anova swordfish is responsibly sourced from the warm, clear waters of the Western Central Pacific Ocean (FAO Fishing Area 71).  Our swordfish is sustainably harvested by artisanal, hand line fisherman in Vietnam.  The one man / one fish hand line method is the most responsible way to fish as it has very little impact on the environment and no by-catch of other species.

The Vietnam, hand-line swordfish fishery is rated GREEN – “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and is a Hy-Vee – Responsible Choice.

In addition, this fishery is participating in a public and credible fishery improvement project with the goal of becoming MSC certified by the end of 2019.

 

 

Aquaculture in Central Iowa

Barramundi FarmVeroBlue Farms is working to become North America’s largest land-based, indoor aquaculture company. Through its Iowa’s First Hub located in Webster City, Iowa, VeroBlue Farms is expanding its production of the barramundi fish species through a new urban farm with approximately 7.2 million pounds of production per year. VeroBlue Farms is North America’s largest land-based, indoor aquaculture company raising 5 million pounds of Barramundi a year.

Barramundi is a freshwater fish species found in tropical and semi-tropical regions ranging from the Persian Gulf to China. It can be found as far south as Australia, and as far north as India. Barramundi scored extremely high on the NuVal scoring system (mid-80s or higher), and was rated as a Green “Best Choice” for sustainability by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Barramundi is known for its firm, white and succulent flesh. It has a moist, fine-grained texture and mild flavor. This nutritious fish is low in fat and high in protein. One barramundi fillet provides the same omega-3 content as approximately 17 steaks, making this fish one of the best sources to improve heart health.Barramundi Fish

Iowa’s First Hub is a family-run operation working to provide a fresh, sustainable product from America’s heartland. Using a recirculating system from VeroBlue Farms, referred to as opposing flows technology, the system utilizes air to circulate the water in the culture tank. The system is designed to create two opposing flows of water that create compressed air being introduced on each side of the tank. Check out this YouTube video for a virtual walk-through of the farm. And because they’re raised in a self-contained environment, our barramundi have no impact on the world’s oceans. They possess all the benefits without the negatives of fish from the oceans, such as mercury, PCBs, dioxins and other contaminants.

At Hy-Vee, we are proud to support one of Iowa’s aquaculture leaders providing farm-to-table seafood. It is exciting that the operation is located in one of our very own Hy-Vee communities, right in the heart of our home state. The fish are grown in an environmentally friendly and sustainable setting which allows us to consistently offer our customers a high-quality and fresh product year-round.

A True Alaskan Delicacy

In Alaska, Tanner crab – or Bairdi snow crab, as the industry calls it – is a one-of-kind shellfish that’s simple yet distinctive, with delicately sweet, snow-white flesh that explains its tremendous value and widespread popularity.  The trademark big bright orange clusters guarantee a memorable presentation. It is much larger and packs a much sweeter, richer flavor than its cousin, the Opilio snow crab. Many Alaska fisherman believe Bairdi crab is the best-tasting of all the Alaskan crab species.

The Bairdi crab has always been harvested from the same areas in the Bering Sea off Alaska. It is targeted along with Opilio snow crab using traps and pots. The crab is then identified and separated as Opilio and Bairdi. One quick way to determine difference is its eye color. Bairdi crab has red eyes and Opilio has green eyes.

For years Bairdi was not marketed in the U.S. because of low quotas and competition with the Opilio snow crab. Thanks to careful management practices, increased awareness and new quotas, customers can now find Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Bairdi snow crab plentiful and featured in their local Hy-Vee stores.

Wild Alaska Salmon Season

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.

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!