Loki team members, Brent Davis and Drew Koshar spent the summer on board the F/V Loki and F/V Njord as deckhands fishing in Alaska, and now they get to follow the fish they caught every step of the way to the farmers markets and local grocery stores, to ensure the best quality, from sea to table.
Dylan, Brent, and Drew are now prepping 400 pounds of keta for a batch of pickled salmon for New Seasons Market! New Seasons Market is a rad locally-owned grocery store in Portland that works directly with farmers, ranchers, producers, and US!
How do we pickle salmon? First, the salmon are filleted, deboned, and cut into one-inch cubes, all by hand in the Loki warehouse.
Next, the salmon cubes are soaked in a homemade salt brine for several days. Once they are done setting, they are rinsed. Finally, the salmon cubes are portioned out into jars, which are then filled with the special Loki sweet brine, lemon, and chopped onions.
Give it a try! If you’ve had pickled herring, it’s a similar taste, with a meatier texture. Our special recipe comes from traditional Scandinavian influences.
It’s almost that time of the year again. You might still be lamenting the end of the summer/fresh salmon season. You might also be stocking up on our flash frozen fillets. Either way, you should GET EXCITED about our upcoming local fall fishing. We will be heading out in just a couple weeks to fish for Keta salmon in Puget Sound, and we are here now to answer all your questions and get you pumped about fresh Keta!
What is a Keta?
Keta salmon, also known as chum, are the second most abundant and second largest (next to King) species of pacific salmon, averaging 10-15 pounds. They spend a short amount of time as fry in the estuaries before heading out to the ocean to mature. They have an average life span of 3 to 6 years.
Huge Keta from last year’s fall season!
Oh, Chum salmon… right. Isn’t that what people feed their dogs?
So here’s the truth about Keta salmon: Keta have gotten a bad rap over the years. Why? One reason is the negative association their name draws to the idea of “chumming the water” (luring other fish with smaller fish, guts, etc). Another reason for this reputation is that keta eat lower on the food chain, which causes their flesh to turn pale and break down as they enter fresh water environments to spawn.
However, when caught in saltwater, and cleaned and handled properly (as we so pride ourselves in doing at Loki), the keta salmon have a firm, lean, and meaty texture, and are quite delicious!
And to actually answer that question: some people do feed their dogs keta salmon. But we have lots of customers who feed their dogs sockeye and king salmon! We do love to take good care of our pets, here in Seattle.
How should I cook Keta salmon?
Keta salmon have a lower oil content, which gives them a firm texture, mild flavor, and thick flake size. For this reason, they are great for marinades or special seasonings, as the fish will soak up the flavors you pair it with. However, you want to be very careful not to overcook the fillets. Since it has less oil, it takes much less time to cook.
Our partners, I Love Blue Sea, say they love to use keta salmon in fishermen pies and potpies, or sautéed with capers and white wine vinegar. Many of our customers use them for seafood stews, salmon patties, and pasta sauces.
Check out Loki Fish Company on Pinterest for more recipe ideas!
Beautiful keta fillets, ready for cooking!
I’m ready to become a Keta convert. (Or I already love it and want more!) When and where can I get the fresh stuff?
Our two boats, the Loki and the Njord head out in Puget Sound on October 19, so you can expect the fresh keta at the local farmers markets starting the following week and lasting 3-4 weeks!
Columbia City Wednesdays until the end of October
Come see us and taste this year’s fresh Puget Sound Keta!
Jonah and the F/V Loki are currently finishing up our summer fishing season locally in Puget Sound catching tons (literally!) of fresh Wild Pink Salmon as they return to local rivers to spawn. Since we are catching these guys so close to home, we are able to get them to our customers at farmers markets, groceries, and restaurants, with lightning-fast turnaround times to ensure the freshest salmon possible.
Pink salmon, also known as Humpies, are the smallest and most abundant species of Pacific Salmon, averaging 3-5 pounds. They also have the shortest life-span of just two years.
When/Where Do Pink Salmon Run?
Pinks run every other year (odd numbered years in the Pacific Northwest, even numbered years in most parts of Alaska). In Southeast Alaska where we fish, intersecting runs means that we have the opportunity to harvest Pink salmon every summer.
Why Haven’t I Seen or Heard of Pink Salmon? And Why Do Some People Have an Aversion to Them?
Pinks are by far the most underrated and misunderstood salmon species. Their small size and plankton-based diet mean that they have fragile flesh that must be handled properly when caught in order to reach market in suitable shape. Unfortunately, most Pinks are handled poorly out of the water, sucked through a vacuum tube onto a processing boat where they are then cleaned. Firmer flesh salmon such as Sockeye can withstand more of this abuse, but under this type of stress the Pinks don’t fare nearly as well and end up getting bruised and industrially canned. For these reasons, Pinks have gained a reputation as being mushy, low quality salmon and are not often found in grocery stores or restaurants.
Why Should I Buy Loki Fish Co. Pink Salmon?
As discussed above, Pinks gained a bad reputation through rough handling procedures that cause them to lose quality rapidly. However, a properly handled Pink salmon is a different animal altogether; with a mild flavor and a tender, delicate flake, Pinks are a staple source of protein for many of our customers.
All of our fish are caught in gillnets that are selectively sized to target a specific species of fish. The net fishes the top of the water column, and each and every fish is taken out of the net individually by hand. The Pink salmon are bled and cleaned immediately on the boats and immersed in 30 degree refrigerated seawater until they make it back to fishermen’s terminal, where they are off-loaded to our trucks to be filleted and prepped for sales. Our thorough and gentle handling procedures ensure that our customers are getting the freshest possible fish, almost immediately after they come out of the water (as quickly as 1-2 days!)
Additionally, while none of the salmon species that we harvest have issues with toxin levels, due to their short life-cycle and eating low on the food chain, Pink salmon are the cleanest of all the salmon species in terms of bio-accumulation of toxins.
I’m Sold! Where/When/How Can I Get Some Fresh Pink Salmon from Loki?
Loki is most known for our presence at local farmers markets. Next weekend, you can find more fresh wild Pink salmon at Columbia City (Wednesday), Bellevue, Edmonds, Proctor/Tacoma, University District (Saturday), and Broadway/Capitol Hill, West Seattle, Ballard (Sunday).
You can also order from our online store or find a list of local markets we sell to on our website.
By: Julia Bodura, digital media manager and photographer, Loki Fish Co.
Loki Fish Co. got a chance to sit down with Jay O’Neill (Head of Savory) and Christopher Donka (general manager) from local award-winning bakery, Bakery Nouveau to talk about their operation and what it was like to work with wild-caught salmon products from Loki.
What should local Seattle foodies know about Bakery Nouveau?
Bakery Nouveau does as much in-house as possible (bread, pastry, desserts, cookies, cakes, etc.). The bakery even does its own meat-processing and has recently started hand-crafting their own jam, with the majority of the ingredients coming from local farms. Amazingly, they have over 200 different items.
“We’re not just a place for breakfast.”
In addition to their 25+ different types of pastries, the bakery makes their own breads, sandwiches, and pizzas. It’s a great spot for local business people to stop by and pick up a ready-made lunch.
“We like to make things that we like to eat. And we’re proud of that.”
What sorts of goodies are you making with Loki Fish Co. salmon?
The newest product that Bakery Nouveau makes regularly is a smoked salmon croissant made with Loki Fish Co. smoked sockeye and the natural pack of canned pink salmon. This particular can variety is packed in water, with nothing else added and Jay prefers it, because it is like a blank canvas for him.
“It’s taking something inexpensive and turning it into something amazing, there’s where the art goes in.”
Jay uses the canned pink salmon to make his own salmon cream cheese with paprika, capers, and red onions. This is the filling for the delicious flaky fish-shaped croissant.
Jay had a lot of great things to say about our canned salmon, “No one can tell we’re using canned salmon.” Loki Fish Co. canned salmon is made from the same wild-caught Alaskan salmon that we smoke or sell as fillets, and there are no preservatives! It’s exciting to hear the support and praise of a professional gourmet chef like Jay, for one of our most affordable products. Jay added, “I’d love to see the bad reputation for canned salmon gone.”
What do you like most about working with Loki and our products?
1. Local West Seattle company—Loki Fish Co. started in West Seattle (the family still lives there) and now has a warehouse in South Park.
2. The products—Loki Fish Co. offers a wide variety of fresh and sustainable salmon that local restaurants and bakeries love to work with.
3. Fast orders and flexibility—being able to call our guys up on their cell phones to get a last minute order with a quick turnaround is something important to fast-paced people in the food industry
4. Nice people, family-oriented—The Loki family (and extended family) are a small and tight-knit group of family and friends that local vendors and families can relate to. People like to know who is catching their fish!
Are there any other local vendors you partner with that our readers might want to check out?
Puget Sound Dairy: source locally
Glory Bee: baking products, honey
“Spectacular service, local people. This is their home and they love to do their job here.”
Bakery Nouveau is owned by West Seattle locals, William and Heather Leaman and now has two locations: the original spot in West Seattle and one in Capitol Hill.
Loki Fish Company also found its roots in West Seattle and now has a warehouse in South Park.