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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Thriving on Wild Salmon with Noah Locke

Meet Noah Locke, the Community Supported Fishery Director for the Midwest region for the Kwee-Jack Fish Company. He dives into the concept of community-supported fisheries, how he began salmon fishing, and his path to working for Kwee-Jack, which currently carries out fishing in Alaska. Learn about the Alaskan experience of fishing and the protocols in place to maintain a sustainable fish population. Noah also talks about the health benefits of eating wild salmon and his favorite ways of cooking it. To learn more and to order your salmon share, go to EatWildSalmon.com/.

Shownotes:
[00:00:07.680] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Good morning and welcome to Green Tea Conversations, the radio show that delves into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine to bring you the local experts who share their progressive ideas and the latest information and insights needed so you can lead your best life. I'm your host Candi Broeffle, publisher of the Twin Cities edition of Natural Awakenings magazine, and I am honored to bring these experts to you. Today's guest is Noah Locke, the Community Supported Fishery Director for the Midwest region for the Kwee-Jack Fish Company, which is now offering salmon shares here in Minneapolis. Welcome to the show, Noah!
 
[00:00:44.460] - Noah Locke, Guest
Thanks for having me, Candi.
 
[00:00:46.590] - Candi Broeffle, Host
We are really excited to have you on this show today and we are going to be covering just a myriad of topics. But the first thing we always like to do is to start off by talking about the companies that we are welcoming in. And one of the first things that I would like to ask you is help us to understand what a community-supported fishery is.
 
[00:01:10.290] - Noah Locke, Guest 
Sure. I think most listeners will probably be familiar with a community-supported agriculture model or a CSA and that's where you're buying a share of a farm's harvest ahead of time so that you get kind of fresh produce all summer long and sometimes even into the fall and winter, depending, and when we started fishing in Alaska, it was kind of a longstanding dream to do a similar model down in the lower 48. So you invest in our fishing operation before we go up to Alaska. We use those funds to sustain the fishing operation and what you get in return is a share of our catch in whatever quantity you want, as little as 10 pounds or some people are buying hundreds of pounds and stocking their chest freezers and feeding their families and neighbors too. So it's a unique way of kind of having a year-round supply of really high quality, wild-caught seafood.
 
[00:02:06.490] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And we're going to get into that a little bit more too. We're going to really travel into learning all about how you make this happen. But to get us started, tell us who Kwee-Jack Fish Company is. How did you get started and what is kind of the concept behind it?
 
[00:02:22.650] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah. So I got to go back in time. I went to high school with a gentleman by the name of Joe Ecohoc and Joe started fishing when he was, I believe, just a year out of high school. We graduated in 01 and he fished for almost a decade alongside another good friend from high school. And it turns out I went to high school with some of the pioneering families of the Bristol Bay gill netting operation. My buddy was fishing back in the 40s and had passed down his fishing licenses, his permits to his children and his children's children.
 
[00:03:03.210] - Noah Locke, Guest
And so it's a huge generational fishing operation was born. And I happened to just be in the right place at the right time. Joe had decided that he no longer wanted to be a skipper for a larger operation. He wanted to go off on his own. And so he took his inheritance from his grandpa and went all in and bought a boat, bought a permit from the state of Alaska to start his own fishing operation. And he'd obviously learned the trade by fishing with our other friends.
 
[00:03:34.650] - Noah Locke, Guest
And that year that he went off on his own was 2009. And we were living together at the time, college roommates. And we decided to go in on this thing somewhat together. So that year I got to go up and be a deckhand, try my hand at commercial fishing, and learned a lot. And that next year my wife and I moved away to Salt Lake City and I was kind of dreaming with Joe about how we could do something with this fishing operation.
 
[00:04:06.990] - Noah Locke, Guest
And he said, "Well, you know what? We've always wanted to do the shares, like the CSA. So how about you go to Salt Lake City and see if you can drum up some some folks that want to join in and start getting a share of our salmon? And I'll work out all the logistics of how to get it to you so that you can be hand out to your friends and family, whoever." And that's how it started. Three years after that, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and it really took off after that.
 
[00:04:31.740] - Noah Locke, Guest
So we've grown the most in the last 7 years since I've been here in the Midwest. And, yeah, that's that's kind of how it got started.
 
[00:04:37.950] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, that is really interesting. So tell me about how many shares do you distribute now? How many do you expect to distribute here in 2021 as a whole company?
 
[00:04:49.290] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yes, as a whole company?
 
[00:04:50.550] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yeah, as a whole company.
 
[00:04:52.130] - Noah Locke, Guest
Let's see. I want to say we're doing around forty thousand pounds this year, give or take. And so. That's going to be around 2000 shares in the lower 48 that's spread across the Rocky Mountain, Midwest, and East Coast regions.
 
[00:05:09.100] - Candi Broeffle, Host
That is really impressive. I bet that makes you so proud to be able to know that you have grown at that much in 7years or the most in the last 7 years. That's really exciting.
 
[00:05:20.730] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah. I mean, we I think we really took off 2015 was the first year in medicine that we kind of saw that kind of our first what I would say, big bump in sales.
 
[00:05:33.040] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So give us an idea, what is it like, how does the operation work? So I imagine you spend some of the years selling the shares and then you have to go up and you have to get the shares. So tell us about that a little bit.
 
[00:05:46.690] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah, well, so as we speak right now, Joe and our crew are out on the boat in the waters of Bristol Bay because the salmon run begins sometime around mid to late June and it goes through sometime around mid to late July, fluctuates every year. So you never exactly know when the salmon are going to show up. But we have a general idea. 4th of July tends to be the peak of the season. So we spent all spring, you know, updating our website, figuring out the logistics and pricing.
 
[00:06:15.040] - Noah Locke, Guest
Our order window traditionally goes from April to May. And that's the time where we're taking orders ahead of time as well when we're able to give our CSA members, sorry CSF members the best price. And then June is when we go and harvest. And then there's a lot that has to happen between the time that the salmon kind of comes into our boat to when it shows up in someone's freezer. So that all happens in late July, mostly through August. September is when we start to do deliveries.
 
[00:06:50.350] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So give us an idea. I know you said that you went up the one year with them. Have you gone up in subsequent years as well?
 
[00:06:58.600] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yep. I was up there in 2016, mainly to do I did a little bit of fishing, also did some filming. I got to fly a drone around to try and we really wanted to give people a sense of what it's like up there. It's, it's a whole another world, and a lot of people are just as excited about Alaska as they are about the salmon. And so they want to hear from us kind of those stories, what's it like to be up there and fish and a lot of people have a dream to go out and maybe fish in Alaska someday.
 
[00:07:26.920] - Noah Locke, Guest
So we got to put together a really nice kind of compilation video that kind of shows the whole operation from start to finish where we are, what it looks like, the size of our boats,  all those things.
 
[00:07:38.830] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And that is great. And we want to go in. We want to see that video that you created. But we also want to know what is it like to be in Bristol Bay?
 
[00:07:47.290] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah. So there's no way to get there by car. You've got to fly into King Salmon and then from Neck Neck, which is just a short drive away from King Salmon, that's where all of our canneries and fishing processing plants are. So people come from all over the world to work at these plants for the summer. And that's kind of our home base. We have contracts with the processors. There's kind of a symbiotic relationship there because they need fishermen to supply them with fish to supply the global market.
 
[00:08:21.100] - Noah Locke, Guest
So that's that's actually how all this got started. And most fishermen, I'd say, are out there fishing for these processing plants that have been taking the fish and making sure it gets packaged and sold and whatever and whatnot. So that's our home base. We fished for about an hour away from there and we stay at old abandoned cannery called Graveyard Point. It is I mean, these are old, dilapidated buildings. It looks like it's haunted. It probably is.
 
[00:08:50.590] - Noah Locke, Guest
But we're sleeping in them at night. We kind of come in there, we bring up generators and we kind of have to pack in and pack out everything. There's nothing up there. There's no running water, no electricity. And you fish around the clock, fish every tide so long as the state of Alaska says we're green light to go ahead and fish, we're out there fishing and we do very little sleeping and very little of anything else, including very little showering, very little eating of anything but salmon and whatever we're able to bring with us.
 
[00:09:20.020] - Candi Broeffle, Host
For people who have a dream of really just going up and being in the wild and being having an Alaskan experience, it really is an Alaskan experience.
 

[00:09:30.880] - Noah Locke, Guest

And you have mosquitoes the size of birds.
 

[00:09:35.470] - Candi Broeffle, Host

Yes. It doesn't sound like a great time to me, but I'm glad there are people who are willing to do it. So tell us a little bit. You had mentioned that as long as the state of Alaska gives you permission...so talk to us a little bit about that because I always wonder if people are concerned about how much fish is being taken out and if we should be concerned about that.
 
[00:10:03.230] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah, so I would say globally it's a big problem. When any type of harvesting is unregulated, things can go bad because we tend to be greedy people. And the way the state of Alaska is different, they recognized a long time ago that they've been gifted one of the best fishing locations on the planet. And I think it's the largest gross export that the state has. So they really want to protect it. They want to protect it for the environment. They want to protect it for their citizens, who it's their livelihood.
 
[00:10:35.030] 
So, yeah, every couple of hours we're getting on the radio and we're listening to Alaska Fishing Game, they're telling us whether or not we're allowed to fish. And the reason they're doing that is they actually hire fish counters, people who sit in rivers and count fish to see how many fish are escaping from the fishermen's nets. They call it the escapement and they have an algorithm. They figured out how many fish need to be escaping in order to have a sustainable fish population, make sure there's enough fish spawning, that there's going to be enough fish to return next year and year after that for eons, right? So those fish counters are doing their job. And if they start to notice that the fish count is getting low, then Fishing Game gets on the radio and they tell us, "Hey, guys no  fishing." Sometimes it's gill netters can't fish or the the drift boats can't fish and it's for the next two tides. But they they tell us when we can and can't fish.
 
[00:11:29.450] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, thank you so much for that explanation. Now we're going to have going to a break. But when we come back, we're going to continue our conversation with Noah, the people who want to learn more about the Kwee-Jack Fish Company or if you'd like to enroll in their shares, go to eatwildsalmon.com. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, the progressive voice of Minnesota. And we will be right back.
 
[00:12:05.170] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations. Today, we are visiting with Noah Locke, the community-supported fisheries director for the Midwest region for the Kwee-Jack Fish Company, which is now offering salmon shares right here in Minneapolis.
 
[00:12:20.890] 
Noah just before the break, we started to kind of talk about the company and how you do your fishing. And I did tease at the very beginning that that you are offering fishing shares. So I think we should probably tell people about the fishing shares that you have available and how they can become a part of it, how they can order their own.
 
[00:12:40.810] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yes. So right now, residents of the MSP area, the Twin Cities, have the opportunity to purchase a share of our catch its wild Alaskan sockeye salmon. It's boneless fillets. They are vacuum-sealed and we flash freeze them. We can talk more about that. But it's probably the best method to keep any type of food really pristine for a long time in your freezer. So our goal is that you're able to pull out of fillet sometime mid-year and it's January, right? And you're you're able to file that fillet of salmon and have a fresh piece of wild Alaskan salmon. And it's just as good as it was the day it was caught. And, you know, it's it's one of the most unique and sustainable ways to keep your freezer full of really healthy food.
 
[00:13:32.030] - Candi Broeffle, Host
When you're talking about a quality product...this is sushi-grade salmon, correct?
 
[00:13:37.690] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah. And it's funny because a lot of people think "Frozen salmon...Oh, my gosh, we want fresh salmon." Well, here's the deal. Unless you're in Alaska on the beach, you're not going to get anything that's fresh. You could pay an arm and a leg to have something airlifted to you on ice. But even then, what a lot of people don't know is that while products have these things called parasites, and so there has to be a preparation in order to make them safe to eat, especially raw.
 
[00:14:03.220] - Noah Locke, Guest
So if you've ever had a delicious, expensive piece of wild salmon at your favorite sushi restaurant, guess what? It was frozen first to ensure that it was safe for you to eat raw. The way we freeze it matters. It's vacuum-sealed first so there's no air and then it's blast frozen, which means it goes into an extremely powerful freezer and it's frozen so fast that ice crystals can't form. So you don't get freezer burn. It basically means, if you've ever seen the movie where people are frozen and they come back to life like a hundred years later, it's kind of like that.
 
[00:14:36.400] - Noah Locke, Guest
I mean, this is a very, very proprietary, pristine way of preserving the food. And that's how ours is. And so it's very different from what you might think of as frozen food. It's the only way, actually, to keep a product like salmon sustainable year-round. You're going to have to freeze it. And so we freeze it the best way possible.
 
[00:14:55.090] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And how many...you have different size shares that people can order. So give us an idea. The smallest size share that you have is a ten pound, correct?
 
[00:15:05.800] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah, that's that's our entry-level. A lot of people are concerned they don't want to buy too much food at once. It is a different way of thinking about your food. You're not going to the grocery store for a little bit here and there. And so 10 pounds is actually not that much. Salmon filets are really thin, so you can easily fit ten pounds into a normal side-by-side or top or bottom freezer. I think you can actually actually get away with 20.

[00:15:30.880] - Noah Locke, Guest
Most of our customers go beyond that, usually have a standalone chest freezer or something like that, or they're splitting it up with friends. But you can go as big as you want. I'd say the average the average order is 20 pounds.
 
[00:15:44.440] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And what is the price?
 
[00:15:46.150] - Noah Locke, Guest
Price does fluctuate year to year. We have to account for the change in the global fish market, which kind of determines how much we're having to pay fishermen and processing costs and things like that. But the price for Minneapolis, a 10-pound share is 159.99. So that's 1599 a pound. The price does go down if you get a bigger share. So if if you're willing to put in a bigger purchase, we're able to bring that price down a little bit to make it more affordable.
 
[00:16:19.060] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So you said the average size is usually a 20-pound share. What is a 20-pound share running?
 
[00:16:24.070] - Noah Locke, Guest
So there'd be 305, even.
 
[00:16:26.740] - Candi Broeffle, Host
What a price. So how many pieces of fish and one expect in, say, a 10 or 20-pound share?
 
[00:16:35.170] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah. So a 10-pound share generally is going to have 6 to 8 filets and then you could double that for a  20. It is a wild product. So they vary in size from year to year. Some years the salmon are huge, other years they're small. So on the smaller years, you're going to get more smaller filets and bigger years, you might get some really big fillets in there. It really does vary.
 
[00:16:57.820] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Let's start talking a little bit about how you actually fish for the salmon. What is it that makes it different in the way that your company is fishing versus like a commercial fishery, that we might see on one of the TV stations where they have the big the big fishing that goes on, what is the difference?
 
[00:17:18.860] - Noah Locke, Guest
There's a lot of different ways to catch a fish. The worst ways are huge, huge nets that the big boats use. And the reasons that are bad is because think about all the weight of those fish and what happens to the fish at the bottom of the net. They've got all the way to the fish on top, so they get crushed, bruised. It's gross. And you can catch things that you're not intending to catch. So we call that bycatch.
 
[00:17:41.630] - Noah Locke, Guest
And when you've got big, massive nets, you can catch seals and sharks and things that you're not meaning to catch but they get caught anyway and it's collateral damage and it damages the oceans and it kills species that we don't mean to. So the way we fish is very different. We do what's called set net fishing with gillnets. In Alaska it's called beach fishing. It's kind of a slang term for it. And our fish are considered the cream of the crop because we're mainly fishing by hand.
 
[00:18:09.200] - Noah Locke, Guest
The gillnets are a very gentle way of catching a fish because they're designed so that only a salmon and what I mean is that the actual size of the area of the net that catches the fish is designed to catch a certain age of salmon. So it's very targeted, which means we get very little to zero bycatch. In fact, the only thing that we've ever caught by accident were animals that had already passed or kind of just floated by. So it's actually really hard to catch the wrong fish now.
 
[00:18:37.370] - Noah Locke, Guest
Gill netting and other areas and other oceans, totally different. Gill netting in Florida, very different than gill netting in Alaska. So I think people might hear gill netting, all gillnet bad. Not true. You have to look at where where this is happening, the ecosystem, and where we're doing it we're just catching salmon and we're only catching sock eye and we pull the fish out of the out of the net by hand. So we bring the nets up onto our boat and we're literally reaching into the gills of each fish and hand-picking them out.
 

[00:19:06.200] - Noah Locke, Guest

So that means these fish aren't being squashed and smashed by big cranes and huge nets. And that matters because when the fish finally gets flayed, you can tell if it's bruised if it's been mishandled and you get a really bad quality product. So when you see those pristine, beautiful fillets of fish, you know, that was probably caught by hand, either with a gillnet or a long line, and it was filled by hand. And there's a lot of care that goes into that. So this really is a premium product that we're selling.
 
[00:19:36.980] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And you have very small boats too, that you're using. I mean, it's not anything like what people may have seen on TV.
 
[00:19:44.210] - Noah Locke, Guest
It's not much unlike your grandpa's fishing boat. We've got an outboard motor. It's a 25-foot aluminum skiff. They're very unsexy. They're not cool to look at just a big bear aluminum boat because the only job is to get us down the beach to where our net is. We pull the net over the front and we just walk down the net, fill the boat up when the boat's full and we get over to the our bigger boats that have big refrigerators holding tanks on ice.
 
[00:20:10.640] - Noah Locke, Guest
And they're kept on ice all the way up until they hit the processors line where we've got skilled people who know how to fillet fish and they take out all the bones and then they go right into the freezer. So it's a very well-oiled machine that really is all designed to keep that salmon as fresh as possible from the moment it leaves the water to when it gets into the consumer's possession.
 
[00:20:32.180] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, when we come back, we are going to share with people how they can get a chance to actually possibly win a share of this fabulous fish. In the meantime, if you would like to check out Kwee-Jack Fish Company, go to eatwildsalmon.com/MSP. We will be right back.
 
[00:21:07.120] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the experts who share their expertise on natural health with you. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today we're visiting with Noah Lock, the community-supported fishery director for the Midwest region for the Kwee-Jack Fish Company. Just before the break Noah, you were giving us a lot of great information about how you go about fishing for the the salmon shares and really giving us some great information about the company and how you got started. And I am just curious, how does supporting the CSF, the community-supported fishery, how does it impact the communities in Alaska?
 
[00:21:53.650] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah, that's a great question. I think a lot of people don't know that Alaska's fisheries are some of the best managed or sustainable fishing operations on the planet. So I think for anyone who's conscious of the environment and wanting to protect what we've been given...buying your fish, that from Alaska really does have an impact because the other option is to buy it from somewhere else and most likely that's from some farming operation. You're providing jobs for people in Alaska supports Alaska natives, it supports local jobs in our nation. I mean, there's just a lot of reasons why you should be buying Alaskan seafood. But if for no other reason, it's some of the best food for you on the planet. And a lot of people don't realize that it does matter where your fish come from and it matters where your food comes from.
 
[00:22:46.810] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Sure. So let's talk about that a bit. What is the difference? I'm sure a lot of people have heard about wild-cut salmon. I don't know if they necessarily understand the difference between wild-cut salmon and the farm-raised salmon. So give us some information about that.
 
[00:23:05.980] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah. So, I mean, with farm-raised salmon, the unfortunate truth is that in order to have a higher yield, in order to successfully raise fish in an environment they were never meant to be raised in you got to feed them all sorts of artificial foods and people can go the resources themselves. But you're going to see ingredients like soybean, you know, modified corn gluten, wheat gluten. I mean, the ingredients list is really not pleasant. And this is all in the name of kind of fattening of these fish.
 
[00:23:39.070] - Noah Locke, Guest
And they're even having to do things like dye them pink because people don't realize that the farm-raised salmon are gray because they're not in the natural diet that comes from the Pacific Ocean that turns salmon pink. So they're pumped full of chemicals and they're fed a really horrible diet to create a very cheap and repeatable product. And so when you go to the grocery store, if you aren't aware of this, you're going to look at the farmed fillet of salmon for 3 bucks and the wild filet of salmon for probably something like 16 dollars, you know, and of course, you're going to say, "I'll buy the 3 one."
 
[00:24:15.160] - Noah Locke, Guest
But what you don't realize is what you're putting in your body is not great. I mentioned earlier that obviously buying wild salmon is supporting a sustainable fishing operation. It supports the economy, but it also supports your body. Wild salmon have a naturally high amount of omega 3s. And just do a quick Google search for, you know, why eat wild salmon? You're going to find out that those omega 3s are responsible for a reduction in heart disease. It's better for your brain. It's better for your nervous system. It prevents all sorts of diseases.
 
[00:24:51.160] 
When my wife was pregnant, she was eating a ton of wild salmon because the doctor informed us that omega 3s are really important for the development of the fetal brain. All this stuff that you don't even think about but manage to have just this one simple food is providing this vital thing that we don't really get for eating a lot of processed foods. You're certainly not going to get if you're eating farmed salmon.
 
[00:25:13.870] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yeah, I think it's interesting. I looked on your website, how I mentioned how I talked about, you know, we get very high levels of omega 6s that we don't get the balance of the omega 3s that we need, which, we're going to get from those wild cut salmon from the wild cut salmon that you you are providing to us and just the importance of having that balance and the quality of the of the fish as well, I'm really excited to get my share because we have a share coming and I'm really excited to get it and to just really be able to enjoy having this really high-quality product that's coming into our home and for our families.
 
[00:25:59.280] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So tell us a little bit about what are some of the other health benefits of eating wild-cut salmon?
 
[00:26:06.160] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head with the balance. You know, salmon is sockeye salmon in particular, and any any wild species of salmon has its own benefits. We fish for sockeye. So that's the one that we love to preach on the most. But sockeye is it's actually a fairly lean meat. But the fat that you are getting is tremendously good fat. We've been hearing a lot more in kind of the diet trends today, like how you need to be getting your good fats and that's why you need to eat salmon to go back on those omega 3s.
 
[00:26:40.060] - Noah Locke, Guest
We keep uncovering more benefits of them and how a lot of diseases can be linked to a lack of omega 3s over a sustained period of time. So a lifetime of not eating healthy whole foods, salmon being one of those. The other thing that's really going to matter is how that fish has been cared for. So I don't mean to totally diss the grocery stores, but next time you go to the grocery store and you go to the seafood aisle and you see a fillet of salmon sitting there, even if it's wild, ask the person behind the counter when it was thought, because I guarantee you that salmon came to that grocery store frozen and then it was thawed.
 

[00:27:21.730] - Noah Locke, Guest

And what most people don't realize is that once you thaw a food like salmon, it immediately starts to break down and deteriorate and the nutritional value starts to plummet. Every hour that goes by, it gets more and more mushy. You can see it and you can taste it. So that's why we try and educate our our customers and keep it frozen always. And then you thaw under refrigeration the day before you're going to eat it. When I pull mine out, it's almost still partially frozen in the middle. And that's exactly where I want it, because that's when it's still perfect and that's when I cook it. So it never has that chance to sit there and get mushy and deteriorate and all those nutrients start to break down to the oxidized. You know, that's what food does.
 
[00:28:11.140] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Right.
 
[00:28:12.490] - Noah Locke, Guest
So buying it frozen is really important. Don't buy it thawed unless you can guarantee that it was just thawed and you're going to take it home and grill it up right then and there. It really does matter. So you can have the best food in the world but if you don't care for that food, then you're not going to get the benefits out of it that we all talk about.
 
[00:28:32.620] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, and we're such a proponent of getting most of your nutrition from really high-quality foods. It's the best way for our bodies to get it. We also recommend vitamins and minerals as well. But if you can get some really good high-quality fats from natural sources, that is the best way to take care of your body. So I'm just curious, because you said, when it comes out of the comes out of the freezer and it's just still a little frozen in the middle, that's when you like to cook it. So tell us, what's your favorite way of cooking it?
 
[00:29:07.450] - Noah Locke, Guest
My favorite way of cooking it is on an extremely clean charcoal grill, it has to be really clean because you don't want your salmon to stick. And it will. But I do just a little bit of oil. You can use olive oil. Coconut oil. Your favorite is fine. Salt and pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika. So do a nice rub. That also helps it not stick. And then I grill it. I don't use foil. I grill it directly on the charcoal grill and I use a smoking block of cherry or oak. Any of those woods will be fine. Put it right on the coals. So you're getting a little bit of that smoke flavor. Just do a couple of minutes flash side down and then you finish it on the skin side down and the skin gets really crispy. A lot of people are afraid of salmon skin and they're like, "What am I supposed to do with it?" or "Do I take the skin off?" No, you eat the skin.
 
[00:30:00.800] - Noah Locke, Guest
That's where all the omega 3s are. All those oils, you want that fish oil eat the skin. It's and it's it is delicious when it's crispy. So I highly recommend, you're not going to get a heart attack. In fact, it's going to prevent you from getting a heart attack. So definitely eat the skin. It's not like pork rinds. It's actually the most simple way to cook it. The key is just having that really clean grill surface to cook it on.
 
[00:30:24.640] - Noah Locke, Guest
And then if you want to get fancy, you can finish it off with a homemade cilantro, lime garlic butter. Just take a stick of grass-fed butter and put some fresh garlic in there, cilantro, squeeze some lime, kind of mix it all up. And then as you serve your hot salmon, you just put a little scoop on top and it melts and it's a great way to finish it.
 
[00:30:45.580] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Oh, that sounds delicious. Sounds like the perfect thing to be having on this summer day. Well, I also want to let people know that you guys have very generously offered to sponsor a giveaway for Natural Awakenings readers and for the listeners of Green Tea Conversations, for people who are interested in possibly winning the prize or getting a chance to win the prize, which is a 10-pound share of Kwee-Jack's salmon, which is valued at 159 dollars, you can simply go to NaturalTwinCities.com, that's our website. And you can enter from there. Or you can also enter by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. And our giveaway is actually starting today, which is July 18th, and it will run it through the end of July, so until July 31st. And then our winner will be announced on August 1st. When the winner is announced, it's just like the shares that are purchased. It isn't something that they get right away.
 
[00:31:54.110] - Candi Broeffle, Host
It's something that will be delivered when everybody else's CSFs are delivered as well. So we should probably talk about that a minute. When are the deliveries being made?
 
[00:32:05.220] - Noah Locke, Guest
The salmon will arrive down here in Madison first. That's where my kind of central hub is, I work with a cold storage warehouse here in town. And then I'll be driving the frozen shipment over the Twin Cities. And I actually haven't posted this yet on our website. I still find online and be where but the when. It's going to be the weekend of September, 25th, and 26th. And we do a 2-day pick up of that just to give.
 
[00:32:30.560] - Noah Locke, Guest
Since it's our first year in the Twin Cities, we want to give people as many options as they can to pick it up. We generally try and find a central location or even a couple locations around town where it's easy access off the freeway and people can just come swing by, grab it, go home, pop in their freezer. So that'll be posted on our website. Also, send out an email to everyone who has purchased, including the winner of this giveaway. And so they'll get notified. And every year I always tell people the people are concerned, "What if I can't pick it up?" There's never been one person in our history who hasn't gotten their share. So we're not going to throw it out. We know stuff happens. So if you can't make the pick-up, I'll work with you personally, make sure that we get your share in your hands.
 
[00:33:13.340] - Candi Broeffle, Host
But you know, the best way to do it, too, is to get a group of friends, family, purchase it together, purchase a share together, get the lower price, right? If you order a 50-pound share, you're going to get a really great price per pound and one person can pick it up and deliver it out to everybody else or have everybody pick it up at their place and makes it really easy to do and get a really high-quality product to your families and friends.
 
[00:33:41.300] - Candi Broeffle, Host
For people who want to learn more about this company and to enroll in one of their shares, go to eatwildsalmon.com/MSP or call Noah directly at 608-571-2879. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations and AM950, the progressive voice of Minnesota. And we will be right back.
 
[00:34:25.490] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the professionals who share their expertise and natural health with you. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, and today I'm talking with Noah Locke, the community-supported fisheries director for the Kwee-Jack Fish Company. So, Noah, just before the break, we were starting to talk about how to prepare, how to thaw the salmon. I also want to know what is the best way to store the salmon?
 
[00:34:57.620] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So you had talked about, you know, if you're looking at a 10 or 20-pound share, it's something that could probably be in your freezer, in your refrigerator freezer, and larger portions, maybe in those chest freezers. But you also brought up during the break that there's something I think people should be aware of, that I would never have even thought of. So talk to us a little bit about the best way to store our salmon.
 
[00:35:23.600] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yeah. So the one the one thing we always want to make sure that people know about is if you have an auto-defrost freezer, that means you've got a freezer that will periodically warm itself up just enough to to melt the ice that tends to form on the inside of your freezer. That mechanism can destroy any not just the same of any food in your freezer, particularly though a very delicate food like salmon. So we've had customers, unfortunately, who had their salmon share next to the auto defrost heating element, which brought the salmon up to a thawed point and then refroze it. And that will destroy, unfortunately, the product. It is not meant to be thawed and then frozen as most most foods aren't. So it's very important. I recommend sticking with the manual defrost freezer. Then you're in control and you can care for the food in the right way. And the other thing I would just say is, colder is better. So a deep freeze. The colder you're keeping that fish, the longer it's going to last, the better it's going to taste when you finally decide to thaw and eat it.
 
[00:36:24.290] 
The USDA does give our salmon a 2-year shelf life. And I have kept it that long and eaten it and it is just as good as it was the day before. The only thing you got to watch out for is it's a vacuum seal products. So if the vacuum seal breaks, you've got air in there now. And once air gets in there, you're going to get crystals forming freezer burn. So the other thing we tell our consumers is always make sure that you're checking those salmon fillets. Every time you pull one out, just kind of peek through and if you find a vacuum seal that's broken, you should eat that one that night because that fillet is now on a timeline. That vacuum seal has been compromised and it's not going to last 2 years and freezer, probably won't last one 30 days. Thankfully, we use industrial-grade vacuum seals but even the best ones can still get a microscopic hole or something or if you drop the share or if you drop a box of frozen cookies on top, and you know what I mean, you just got to care for it like anything else.
 
[00:37:20.630] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yeah. And if you have teenagers around and they're rummaging through your freezer or something, it might get..one of those vacuum seals might get broken. Well, that's really great information, though. And I'm glad that you mentioned that it's good for up to 2 years. So my recommendation to people is buy more rather than less because I think the biggest thing is when you're looking at this and it's something that comes around once a year. So many times I have tried to be like, "Oh, I don't know if we'll use all of that."
 
[00:37:50.540] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So you buy like a smaller share and then partway through the year, you're thinking, "Oh, I wish I would have had more." So as long as it's 2 years, you can always have always have it on hand. It's not going to hurt anything. And to be able to know that you always have that really high-quality salmon in your freezer. So on your website, you also have some other things that people can purchase that will be delivered alongside their shares. So you have some spice rubs and some other products. Tell us a bit about those.
 
[00:38:22.460] - Noah Locke, Guest
Yes. So we've got a lot of what we call add-on products. So when you order a share, then you're given the option to check out to kind of pick up some other goodies. We've got two different spice rubs that we carry and we carry some cedar grilling wraps from a company that we partner with here in the States that those just really high-quality cedar products that you see, they're grilling planks and other things like that. If you get really excited about Crytek, you can get a T-shirt, too, on your way out.
 
[00:38:52.300] - Noah Locke, Guest
But the other thing that everybody gets, regardless of how big of a share you purchase or anything like that is we always hand out at least one or two recipes as well as information that kind of educates people on how to best care for it, how to how to best thought the same and everything we've kind of talked about here, all those tips and tricks to make sure that you're getting the most out of each share throughout the year.
 
[00:39:13.230] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And I also highly recommend people go to your website. You have really great information on there. It's interesting to read it and to learn about how the fishing is done and to kind of see the different aspects of what you guys are doing, what the team members are doing while they're up there, and and then you have huge information on nutritional value of the salmon and also so many different recipes on the website. It's just your website is really full of really great information.
 
[00:39:47.210] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So to go to that website again, the general website is eatwildsalmon.com, and then to order you go to eatwildsalmon.com/MSP. One of the things that you and I were talking about and we don't have a ton of time left, but I do want to kind of mention about the value of making sure that these fisheries are maintained in Alaska and some of the things that could happen that could actually negatively impact those fisheries. And one of the things that you were telling me about is the Pebble Mine. So explain what the pebble mining is.
 
[00:40:27.830] - Noah Locke, Guest
So the Pebble Mine, for those who don't know, it's been a decade-long battle in Alaska, and actually, there was a fairly significant decision made earlier this year. The group that's been trying to build the Pebble Mine in Alaska was denied their permit cause for celebration. The reason it's a cause for celebration is because a pebble mine would most assuredly damage, if not destroy, the fishing operation in Alaska, mainly the impact on the salmon itself, not the fishermen.
 
[00:40:56.870] - Noah Locke, Guest
The same ecosystem is very delicate, and the Bristol Bay fishery is designed to actually keep it that way. Like I mentioned early on in the program, the whole point of that fishery is to make sure that there's enough fish to come back next year, to come back the year after that, and the year after that, so they can continue to spawn. So we're only harvesting the excess amount of fish that aren't required to keep that fishery sustainable. So when you buy Alaskan salmon, you're not just buying a nutritious product but you're supporting one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. Alaskan seafood is shipped worldwide.
 
[00:41:34.430] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I think we were talking earlier, the Japanese love our salmon. So, the whole world loves our salmon and we want to keep it that way. And it's a strong way to support our economy as well as care for the environment, protect it from other operations that might actually destroy the fish and wildlife.
 
[00:41:51.710] - Candi Broeffle, Host
But Noah, one of the things I've been meaning to ask you since the beginning of the show, and now we're here at the end, but we never did learn why is it called Kwee-Jack Fish Company?
 
[00:42:02.600] - Noah Locke, Guest
It's a great question. We fish on the Kvichak River, which is actually spelled K-V-I-C-H-A-K but pronounced Kwee-Jack. It's a native Alaskan name, which is why it has the unusual spelling. And yeah, that's where we fish. And we had to pick a name back in 2009. And Joe said, let's call it Kwee-Jack. That's where we fish.
 
[00:42:29.340] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, Noah, thank you so much for being with us today. I'm really glad that you came into the studio and are able to share with us so much about the Kwee-Jack Fish company.
 
[00:42:38.460] - Noah Locke, Guest
Thanks for having me. It's been a blast.
 
[00:42:40.650] - Candi Broeffle, Host
To find out more about the credit this company and to enroll in one of their shares, go to eatwildsalmon./MSP or call Noah directly at 608-571-2879. Thank you for joining our conversation as we awaken to natural health. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, the progressive voice of Minnesota. And I am wishing you a lovely day!
Read the full July 2022 Magazine