Back in the good old days, Alaska was known for its Gold Rush. Times have changed and now the big news from up north is the revered “Copper Rush.” A few days ago my husband Gerry and our Chef Jeremy dashed up to Cordova, Alaska, to be on hand for the catch of the first Copper River wild salmon. The “rush” to get the first “copper” back to the lower 48 is a big one. These brave explorers were successful and brought some gorgeous sockeye and king back to Salty’s for the first taste of the season. Let me tell you the texture and flavor of that highly prized fish was absolutely divine.
What is it about this celebrated fish that makes it so treasured? The most important element is that it is born and raised in the wild. These salmon live in fresh, pristine freezing waters and must migrate from the Pacific Ocean back up the Copper River, which is one of the longest, most rugged rivers in the world. Because these fish have to store enough fat in their bodies to swim the 286-mile length of this high-velocity (56,000 square feet per second) river to spawn, they must maintain enormous amounts of fat in their bodies. This fat contains omega-3 fatty acids, which play a vital role in disease prevention and health management. This vital nutrient can help inhibit cardiovascular problems, calm inflammation issues such as arthritis and asthma, help decrease depression and mental decline and aid in the prevention of many eye diseases as well as many cancers. When it comes to nutrition, wild salmon strikes it rich. Doctors say it is important for us to get this valuable food into our bodies at least twice a week. We say “good idea.” (Read more at CopperRiverSalmon.org.)
“So where on a piece of salmon is this highly prized fat deposited?”
So where on a piece of salmon is this highly prized fat deposited? Did you know that the grey layer of flesh between the skin of the salmon and the pink muscle is actually where the vast majority of this nutritious fat is stored? Many people unknowingly scrape this delicate part off. Don’t do it! Be sure to dig into the grey fat layer of your salmon in order to mine the highest nutritional benefit.
Beyond good personal health the Copper River fishery is also about environmental health and sustainability. Sustainable fisheries are actively managed to maintain a steady healthy population of fish and are critical in preventing a decline in numbers over time. In order to accomplish this, yearly fishing quotas are established, preservation of vital areas of the rivers are maintained, monitoring of migration numbers are counted and spawning and reproduction levels are traced. This high level of stewardship is essential to the enduring quality of the Alaskan Copper Rush.
At Salty’s we are “panning” the delicious, nutritious, sustainable Copper River Salmon for yo’u right now. Come in and stake your claim on the mother lode!