* * * * * * WIN FREE SALMON * * * * * *
I thought I’d just put that out there now. Keep reading and then scroll to the end for your chance to win three POUNDS of salmon.
Meet Allison, my newest BFF. OK, she isn’t really my BFF; in fact, she’s about the same age as my oldest daughter. But you know how much I love salmon, and Allison literally has tons of sockeye salmon at her fingertips, and she lives right here in Portland, and that alone puts her way up on my list! Let me tell you a little about her family’s Community Supported Fishery (CSF), the Kenai Red Fish Company.
Kenai Red Fish Company, founded by Allison’s father Clint Benson, has a simple, but powerful vision: to bring the highest quality, sustainably harvested sockeye salmon directly to Portland-area tables.
Now, if you were paying attention a few sentences back, you may be asking, “What’s a CSF?” Well, you might be familiar with CSA’s, or “Community Supported Agriculture,” in which members support farmers in return for a share of their farm produce. Kenai Red Fish Company operates as a Community Supported Fishery, or CSF, on much the same model, providing households with shares of salmon instead of produce. They offer 10-pound and 20-pound shares of flash frozen, vacuum sealed, wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, delivered directly to homes in Portland-Metro area.
The story of Kenai Red Fish Company starts way back in 1980, when Clint Benson met Bob Wolfe in Kasilof, Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula. The two 19-year olds (Clint from Corvallis, Oregon and Bob From Sacramento) had hitchhiked north from the lower forty-eight, seeking their fortunes as commercial fishermen. For the next 10 years they worked summers together in the Cook Inlet, working their way up from the cannery dock crew to fishing boat deck hands.
After a decade, Clint left commercial fishing, taking more traditional jobs in Portland, where he and and his wife, Barbara, raised Allison and her two sisters. However, Captain Bob never left Alaska, and has fishing commercially in the waters of Cook Inlet for over 30 years. In 2010, after two decades away, Clint rejoined his old friend, and two years later they made it official with the formation of the Kenai Red Fish Company.
I had a chance to sample some Kenia Red Fish, both fresh-frozen and smoked. Once defrosted, the salmon itself smelled fresh and had great texture, and the flavor was deep and rich. (Lest you think that all salmon tastes the same, let me set you straight right now – it does not. In fact, that cheap Atlantic farmed stuff that you can pick up at Costco shouldn’t even be allowed to call itself salmon.)
The Kenai Red Fish smoked salmon was some of the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve eaten a lot of smoked salmon). The smoky flavor enhanced the fish without overpowering it, and the texture was perfect: not too dry, not too moist.
Not only does their fish have great flavor and texture, but the Kenai Red Fish Company also has a very impressive Catch-to-Dock process as well: they take great care to keep the fish as fresh as humanly possible. Wild Alaskan sockeye salmon are caught in the ocean waters of the Cook Inlet, having spent 2-4 years in the open sea. Once caught, the fish are bled and put into a mixture of ice cold sea water and ice, called slush ice, where they are stored until we reach the dock.
At the dock, fish are put in large totes filled with more slush ice, with 100-125 fish in each tote. (For reference, canneries pack 200-250 fish in each tote.) At this point, the fish-filled totes are immediately transported to a small, family owned processing facility where they are filleted, vacuum packed, and flash frozen at minus 30 to minus 40 degrees. This all happens, catch to final product, in 12-24 hours.
The flash-frozen fish is then transported to Portland within a freezer container on a barge and stored locally until it is delivered to you. (And me!)
If you live in the Portland-Metro area and would like to know more about Kenai Red Fish Company or order salmon for delivery, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-819-4301.
This giveaway is open to Portland-Metro residents only! Sorry everyone who lives somewhere else; however, if you have friends or family that live in the Portland area, you are welcome to enter on their behalf!
All images in this post were provided by the Kenai Red Fish Company and used with permission.