Wild for Salmon
Jan 01, 2013 02:46PM
● By Christine Chyko
Local business Wild for Salmon began as an adventurous trip to Bristol Bay, a borough of Alaska, in 2002. Steve and Jenn Kurian were invited to do some commercial salmon fishing with a friend, so they took him up on his offer. Following this first fishing excursion, the couple arrived home with two coolers of salmon for friends and family—and a newfound love of fishing Bristol Bay.
As word got out about the high quality sockeye salmon available in Pennsylvania, demand soared. The Kurians quickly realized the uniqueness of the product and the possibilities that lie ahead. With that, Wild for Salmon was born.
“We created this business to provide natural, sustainably harvested salmon products of superior quality, priced for the common good,” says Jenn. “We offer wild, Alaskan sockeye salmon because we believe the health benefits received from wild salmon are an essential part of our mind and body health.”
Since that first year, the company has grown to serve individuals, buying clubs, local farm markets, restaurants, health food stores and more. The catch has also grown: the couple has brought home increasing supplies of salmon each season to reach 60,000 pounds in 2012. In fact, Wild for Salmon has increased its sales by an average of over 20 percent per year over the last four years, prompting them to purchase their own boat and commercial fishing permit for Bristol Bay.
June and July are busy months on the boat. Jenn and Steve, plus two crewmen, spend approximately six weeks every summer on their 32-foot vessel, the R-J, catching a thousand plus pounds of wild Alaska salmon.
All of the products are refrigerated on the boat until they can be off loaded (a maximum of 8 hours spent in the hold) and taken to shore where they are filleted, glazed and flash frozen. The Kurians say that these steps are important for maintaining the quality of the fish. “The glaze places a protective layer of ice between the fish and the freezer, so risk of freezer burn is minimized,” they explain. “The rapid freezing helps maintain the quality of the fish, both in flavor and texture. The length of freezing time ensures that our salmon is sushi grade.”
In late July, the season ends and these hard-working fishermen fly home to Bloomsburg, where they start preparing for the arrival of their fish and Wild for Salmon’s busy season.
The company began by offering vacuum-packed fillets and portions. Now, the salmon line has expanded to include feta dill burgers, smoked salmon ravioli, nova-style and hickory-smoked salmon and more. In recent years, with the addition of a storefront and storage freezer, Wild for Salmon has teamed up with fellow fishermen to include a full selection of Alaska’s seafood bounty. Online and in their retail store patrons can find Alaskan halibut, sole, cod, crab, prawns and others that are offered year round. “When you buy Alaska seafood not only are you buying some of the cleanest seafood in the world, you know that the fisheries are being monitored to ensure that this product will be around for generations to continue to enjoy,” note the Kurians.
Wild for Salmon offers a multitude of purchasing options, including in-store and online. For convenience, their products can also be found at eight different markets in central and eastern Pennsylvania, as well as making deliveries to restaurants and health food stores in that same coverage area.
Starting a buying club is another unique way to purchase the seafood. A buying club consists of a group of people who combine their orders to purchase over 100 pounds of salmon. In return, Wild for Salmon will deliver the fish to a place of the customers’ choosing at a predetermined date and time.
The couple says, “As the fishermen, we are able to experience the beauty of Alaska and participate in the native culture of the land. As the demand increases for wild salmon and Omega3 rich diets, we are proud to be able to make this product available to our customers at an affordable cost. Our tireless hours of commercial fishing are rewarded with your love for our product.”
Wild for Salmon is located at 521 Montour Blvd., in Bloomsburg. For more information, call 570-387-0552, email [email protected] or visit WildForSalmon.com.