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.

Recipe Spotlight: Responsible Choice Barramundi with Lemon Basil Sauce

This recipe features the favorite flavor combination of lemon and basil, with Responsible Choice barramundi as the headliner. It’s simple, refreshing and filling.

Responsible Choice Barramundi with Lemon-Basil Sauce

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 4 Responsible Choice barramundi fillets, skin on
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp white flour
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 to 3 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Season fish with lemon pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook fillets for 3 to 4 minutes with skin side up in olive oil. Flip over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on thickness, until flaky and opaque. Transfer the fish to each of 4 plates and keep warm. Return pan back to the stove.
  3. Place the butter and garlic in the pan and cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until garlic is fragrant. Add flour; mix until all incorporated. Add lemon juice, white wine and basil and cook until slightly thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spoon lemon-basil sauce over fish before serving.

Recipe Spotlight: Responsible Choice Baked Barramundi with Tomato-Olive Relish

Responsible Choice Baked Barramundi with Tomato-Olive Relish

All you need:

  • 4 (6 oz each) barramundi filets
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, divided
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup finely diced shallots
  • 1/4 cup finely diced Italian parsley
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Season the barramundi filets with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, reserving the rest for the relish.
  3. Bake the barramundi in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until opaque and flaky. A thermometer should register at 145 degrees when the fish is done.
  4. In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, Kalamata olives, shallots, parsley, capers, oregano, basil, red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste. Set aside.
  5. Garnish each barramundi filet with 1/2 cup of the tomato-olive relish.