“So, where’s that trout from?” I asked my fishmonger the other day at my local Publix supermarket. He looked like the head fishmonger in his white coat. He gave me a weak smile.
“The lake.” he answered. Huh? Which lake? He had no idea. This is fine, and certainly not as bad as the time a woman at a different supermarket told me straight faced the fish was “from the freezer”. (I am serious!)
I was more wondering which state the rainbow trout were from, since the label simply read USA farmed. I was secretly hoping they were from California.
I had just read about a company called TwoXSea who raise their McFarland Spring trout on vegetarian feed made of nearly all corn, soy,and a lot of algae. This is a VERY big deal, since one of the biggest issues with fish farming is that the farmed fish often require feed made from fish in the ocean (some more than others!). And they add DHA which means it has higher omega 3’s than wild salmon!
Feeding fish food other than their natural diet has its own issues but as Crystal Sanders from TwoXSea explains, farmed fish feed is really just about the nutrients the fish need: “Basically it’s not fish based ingredients that farmed seafood need, it’s the nutrients that are within the fish. By finding alternate sources of these nutrients and providing them in adequate amounts you can eliminate fish meal, fish oil, and other animal byproducts from aqua(culture) feeds.” Apparently this method of feeding also makes the fish taste better (though some in the industry say that farmed fish taste different without fish in the feed).
The trout are being raised in cold spring water free of contaminants, so they won’t be at risk of bioaccumulation. And for bonus ecofriendliness, the spring also generates hydroelectric power for the fish farm! Reminds us of the windmill-powered farm Dr. Ted Caplow saw in Fish Meat!
This kind of fish farm is exciting to me, and of course I would love to buy some trout from there, knowing that I was helping me, my family and the environment. But alas, if my fish was from this farm, I am sure it would say so proudly on the label since it is likely to be a bit pricier and they would want to advertise its origins for prestige.
I really hope to be able to try some of TwoXSea’s fish one day soon! I think I’ll place an order and post a future blog about it. I didn’t buy any trout from “the lake” that day, although it wouldn’t have been a bad choice of fish (U.S farmed rainbow trout is actually a “best choice” according to Seafood Watch). I was just wondering if I’d have to move to California to get an answer to my simple question.
photo credits: Martin Reed, Veronique Koch, and Courtney Michalik