Since I do 99.9% of the grocery shopping in my home (the other .01% is when hubby runs out to get himself ice cream), I have the responsibility of picking out produce that is both healthy and delicious so organic produce is a big part of our diet. To consumers, the organic food movement is a somewhat easy sell since the end user can easily comprehend the benefits it brings to their own lives but with the earth’s precious resources under rising threat, it’s become increasingly important to think about the ramifications of how and where we obtain our food.
Sustainable, Organic, Local
The harvesting of sustainable food requires that we replenish the same resources that we take away so that there is supply for incoming generations. And doing all of this locally adds to these efforts since resources used for transportation and packaging are reduced. Having said that, it’s not always easy to buy such foods (sustainable, organic and local) since companies need to adopt new harvesting practices at the expense of their bottom line. Doing the right thing is not always easy but its good to find perfect examples of these organizations in my own backyard.
Northern Divine is a local fish farm based on the Sunshine Coastt which produces organic sustainable sturgeons certified by the Ocean Wise program. These fish are grown to a size of several hundred pounds and in the Fraser River waters they take about 11 years to mature and start producing caviar. It's a long term investment in the region and Northern Divine has several thousand of these fish, at one time, all in different stages of their life cycle.
Sturgeon is Not Just For Caviar
Although the sturgeon is most notably known for producing some of the best caviar in the world, it turns out that it is also a very delicious tasting fish on its own. I had a chance to experience this for myself last night when I was invited to a 5 course dinner featuring Northern Divine’s sturgeon, prepared by Chef Robert Clark and the legendary Chef Vikram Vij’s at the latter's restaurant, My Shanti, in South Surrey.
Chef Vij and Chef Clark cleverly incorporated a different part of the sturgeon in every course so nothing goes to waste. We had a few sturgeon steaks in the classic filet style but more interestingly - the sturgeon fin soup and sturgeon liver pate. I loved how the fish is boneless, non-fishy and had a firm texture, without which causes kids to dislike fish. Come to think of it, its actually a very family-friendly fish.
And if I’ve got you a little bit curious about sturgeon, you can also try your hand at it at home. It can be found at Choices market in the lower mainland and here are some sturgeon recipes you can follow.
Lastly, I'd like to impart that this dinner experience had a big impact on me. Besides the amazing sturgeon dishes and the well thought out beer and wine pairings, the night highlighted the amazing things that a group of committed citizens can achieve together when they help each other succeed. It was inspiring listening to Chef Vij talk passionately about his partnerships with local breweries, wineries and bakeries to create new products and bring new dishes to his restaurants, thereby, supporting the local economy and it's people. Some of those collaborations came in the form of a specially formulated beer with Trading Post Brewery - a beer that comes in a small and stylish apothecary jar because as he muses "it's always nice to hold onto a bottle of beer", and chocolate cake by Langley's Tracey Cakes paired with sturgeon caviar. Meeting the people behind the sustainable Northern Divine fish farm, the owners of local wineries, breweries and bakeries, you can see how much people thrive when they are supported by their local community. You can never go wrong when you go local.
Until our next outing.
Disclosure: I was invited to attend this dinner event. All drinks and food were complimentary. All opinions are my own.