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Sustainability Never Tasted So Good.

Aquaculture has been around for a few years now and most people are familiar with how it works.

Atlantic salmon are grown in large cages off the shores of Charlotte County in New Brunswick and harvested for the local, regional, national and world markets.   It’s an industry that has humble roots but today accounts for more than $120-million in annual revenue for a number of players in Southwest New Brunswick.   It’s an industry a lot of New Brunswickers have good reason to be proud of.

With that growth came a number of growing pains and challenges, from fighting disease in the farmed fish, particularly in the late 90s, to dealing with environmental concerns with an industry that at a time couldn’t grow fast enough to fill the hungry market for Atlantic salmon.

It’s easy to understand why True North Salmon, the processing, distributing and marketing division of Cooke Aquaculture was so enthusiastic to roll out it’s new Seafood Trust Certified Eco Label Salmon at a lunch dinner in St. Andrews on Wednesday, September 23 at Fairmont Algonquin resort in St. Andrew’s, just a short drive from the company’s home base in Black’s Harbour.

Cooke Aquaculture has a 25-year history in the region and it’s new certification was awarded to True North by Global Trust Certification (www.gtcert.com).

Under its guidelines, salmon are grown in their natural habitat and in their normal growth cycle of about two years.   The farms are carefully situated in areas where currents ensure optimal growing conditions.

“Seafood Trust Certification meets the highest standards for credible certification and eco labeling programs (ISO 65) including the 2008 technical guidelines established by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for aquaculture certification,” the company wrote in its release.

Essentially, getting this certification involved a whole lot more than just filling out some forms.

Cooke Aquaculture CEO Glenn Cooke described the process as nothing less than a “cultural change” throughout the company on its path to work under the strict new guidelines.

Sustainability was the word of the day for this event and it’s a quality in food that an increasing number of consumers want to know about when choosing the food they buy and eat.

It’s a path that you’ll see more companies follow in the future as the public demands it more and more from the products but for now, True North is the leader.   It’s the first company in North America to offer Seafood Trust Certified Eco Label farmed Atlantic Salmon.  I suppose it’s one more thing for New Brunswickers to be proud of.

Executive Chef Ryan Dunne.

Fairmont Algonquin executive chef Ryan Dunne put together a nice little menu to feature the Eco Label salmon for the lunch on Wednesday.   It started with a “Bay of Fundy Smoked Salmon & Porcini Mushroom inside out roll”, pictured above.  It was served with “torched” hollandaise, chili spiced oil and green pea coulis.   A wonderful little appetizer that resembled a sushi roll but featured flavours that worked great with the delicate smoked salmon.

That was followed up by an entree of Maple Marinated Salmon Filet, which was served with roasted fall beet and truffle emulsion and crispy garlic potatoes.  Sounds fancy but was really just a perfectly cooked filet of salmon paired with some classic other savoury flavours that work well with fish.   The salmon was nicely carmelized thanks to the maple marinade but still buttery moist inside.  A true delight.

One of the other media members at my table commented that she couldn’t tell the difference between this salmon and regular salmon to which I replied “you can taste the sustainability!”.

The salmon went over better than my sense of humour.