Here are some of my take-aways from my recent visit to Seafood Expo North America, held in Boston, Massachusetts. I only had one day to visit so I covered as much ground as I could among the thousands of vendors. It was also my first time to any big seafood expo and I had such a good time I can’t wait to go next year!
A Thank You To Wise
My trip to SENA 2019 was made possible by Wise, makers of WiseFish and other software solutions for the seafood industry. Thank you again, and it was a pleasure meeting you at the Expo!
Warm Welcome From Australis Barramundi
My first stop was to meet up with Australis Marketing Director Julie Qiu who introduced me to CEO Josh Goldman. Julie informed me of some new developments on the business end and Josh told me how their stocks are maturing, allowing them to produce an even better product. All the while chef Kelly Armetta served up a fabulous working brunch of numerous barramundi dishes. My favorite was a fillet he simply grilled with some oil and topped with pico de gallo. If you are apprehensive about trying barramundi for the first time, try it on the grill.
The World is Salmon Crazy!
Salmon…so much salmon…I really hit peak salmon at the event. Most of the samples I tried were excellent, but then again I mostly stuck to companies that I knew something about. Until very recently, I did not eat a lot of salmon and I prefer to spend a little more for either wild or really well-raised farmed salmon. I got to check out the booths of some of the brands I trust: Bakkafrost and Hidden Fjord (Faroe Island salmon), Ora King, Verlasso among others. However the star of salmon world at SENA 2019 in my opinion was Wester Ross Salmon from Scotland. They even won a taste test recently held by The Boston Globe.
Scotland has a great reputation in general when it comes to farming salmon, and the friendly Wester Ross team explained why in great detail. I will be covering them in a future post so salmon lovers will have to keep an eye out.
Of all the smoked salmon I sampled, it is hard to sort them out, but I do have to say that Ducktrap River of Maine was very good and so was their smoked mackerel.
China Had An Overwhelming Presence At The Expo
It seemed like nearly half of the booths were part of China’s sprawling pavilion. Japan, Korea, Indonesia and several South American countries had sizeable pavilions, but not like the row upon row of stalls for Chinese seafood companies. Since I was not there to buy massive amounts of squid or clams I didn’t interact with any of them except one. A nice lady offered me some chopped spicy clam…it was the only thing I regret eating at SENA 2019.
City of Gloucester Well Represented
My hometown of Gloucester, Massachusetts had a booth again this year to showcase what the City can offer seafood professionals in the way of our port facilities, our seafood processing capabilities and of course to promote our locally caught, sustainably harvested seafood. Our Mayor held court while the team prepared loads of signature lobster arancini, highlighting Gloucester’s role as the State’s #1 lobster port.
Huge Aquaculture Presence a Sign of the Future
With aquaculture supplying more than half of all seafood consumed, it is no wonder that SENA 2019 seemed dominated by aquaculture companies. As much as I support wild caught fish and their fishermen, there are more people in this world, and we all seem to be eating more seafood. The need for sustainable sources of seafood is greater than ever and so I have come around when it comes to some raised fish. Not all farmed fish are created equal, I still take farmed fish on a case by case basis. But thanks to organizations like Australis, Wester Ross, Open Blue and others, I am learning more about what it takes to make farmed fish compare in taste to wild, without being detrimental to the ecosystems of wild fish or the livelihoods of those who fish.
After all those meet-ups, I have a bag of brochures, business cards and recipes that should keep me busy for months. As I dig deeper into these various companies and their products, I will be sharing what I learn with all of you. Should be fun!