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In response to customer requests for organic salmon, Wegmans Food Markets now offers organic salmon that has been farm-raised in Ireland. Family-run Murphy’s Irish Seafood raises salmon that carries European Union Organic Certification from the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA). At present, there is no definition for organic seafood from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“This supplier controls its product from day one. They raise their own juvenile stock on the Comhola River using a diet of sustainable natural and organic ingredients,” explained Carl Salamone, Wegmans VP of seafood, who sourced the product. “The smolts are then moved to the pens in the Bantry Bay, where their number is strictly limited in each pen for a near-to-natural growing environment with massive water movement; this is great for the fish and less stressful on the environment.”
Fed sustainably sourced organic feeds, the fish grow to 12 pounds in 14 months, whereupon they’re harvested, cleaned and flown to Wegmans’ processor in the grocer’s hometown of Rochester, N.Y., within a 24-hour period.
The salmon are additionally fully traceable from hatchery to customer, a major requirement of the EU Organic Certification process. Each fish bears a tag as a guarantee of authenticity and origin. “For customers who are concerned about the environment and want to know exactly where their salmon come from, this product is for them,” noted Salamone.
The shipments of fresh filets arrive at all of the chain’s stores on Thursdays and must be sold by Sunday. They sell for $17.99 a pound, which, according to Wegmans, is between the price of traditionally farm-raised salmon and wild-caught salmon.
Wegmans operates 77 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland, and is scheduled to open its first New England store later this year in Northborough, Mass.