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Whole Foods Market has teamed up with a group of West Coast fishermen to promote Northwest albacore throughout August. The campaign marks is the third straight year that Austin, Texas-based natural foods chain will feature sustainable tuna caught by members of the Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA). This year’s partnership will bow at the annual Bite of Oregon in Portland, which runs from Aug. 6 through Aug. 8.
At the premiere food event, Whole Foods’ executive chef in the Northwest, Matt Talavera, will prepare special recipes he created for Wild Pacific Albacore. The company will additionally use the occasion to make sure consumers know about its sustainable seafood program.
Among the other August albacore activities planned are price promotions, tastings, and cooking demonstrations at participating Portland and Seattle-area stores.
“At Whole Foods Market, we’re always looking for ways to increase interest in local seafood; getting people to try delicious local albacore at an event like the Bite of Oregon is a fantastic way to reach a large number of people who love food,” explained Mark Curran, Whole Foods’ senior seafood coordinator, select fish in Seattle.
“We want U.S. consumers to know that there is plenty of local, sustainably fished tuna available, and presenting our albacore at Whole Foods is a great way to do that,” noted WFOA executive director Wayne Heikkila.
Representing about 400 albacore fishing vessels and local supporting businesses on the West Coast, Redding, Calif.-based WFOA is working to boost albacore sales at Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified retailers like Whole Foods to maximize the benefit of obtaining the certification. Whole Foods was one of the first U.S. companies to back and take part in the MSC chain-of-custody program. Wild Pacific Albacore tuna is also on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Super Green List.
Most albacore caught off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington is exported Japanese and European markets, but that may not always be the case, according to Heikkila. “With economic conditions worsening in Europe, it is more important than ever to increase our market share at home,” he said.
High in omega-3s with a firm texture and mild flavor, Wild Pacific Albacore is usually available in loins, steaks and smaller medallions when in season from July through October), and fresh-frozen or canned year-round.
For further information, visit www.PacificAlbacore.com.