Victorian salmon producer takes seasonal approach
retailworld21nov11-26Most people do not see salmon as a seasonal food, but for boutique producer Yarra Valley Salmon it is the only way.
Yarra Valley Salmon's General Manager Mark Fox has already built a reputation for being anything but conventional in farming his Atlantic salmon. When Mr Fox took over the farm at the base of the Victorian Alps 14 years ago, he immediately questioned the way fish were milked for caviar and changed the process to an entirely natural one.
The fish live in long earthen ponds that are fed by waterfalls. No antibiotics or chemicals are used and, labour intensive as it may be, the fish are milked by hand, resulting in a flawless, plump caviar.
The fish are only culled and sold on the market from October to January, when the flesh is at its best and the fish have had time to recover from being milked in May.
"Even though we're the only aquaculture farm to milk our fish entirely by hand, the process still takes its toll on the fish," Mr Fox said.
"It's like any animal giving birth, they need time to fully recover.
"Because of the space we give our fish to swim around, we don't need to use antibiotics or prophylactics because there's no need.
The fish are actually less prone to disease just because of the way they live and therefore, of course, much healthier and happier. In turn, that results in the quality of the product on the plate.
"It makes far more sense to provide a top-quality product and, in the process, do the right thing by the fish, the Rubicon River, which feeds our ponds, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our farm."