Fancy something fishy? Try organic Shetland salmon
Saturday 01 December 2007
Shetland's Green Island Fisheries was set up two years ago by brothers Ivor and Angus Johnson, themselves the sons of a Shetland fisherman. With Angus' son Grant now part of the business, it is probably the only fish farm on the islands that has been in the same family for three generations. Sadly, however, although 20 years ago there were around 50 fish farms in Shetland, there are now only six other family owned outfits.
Though in the past a "conventional" salmon farmer, Ivor saw profits continually squeezed and the resulting quality of the fish suffering. "To set up a conventional fish farm, you need deep pockets and you struggle to compete, so my brother and I decided to sell the business and re-start as an organic outfit," he says. "I was having a conversation with a representative of the processing company, lamenting the fact that I couldn't get a good price, and he was lamenting the fact that he couldn't find top quality products. From that conversation we started our relationship with Waitrose, which seems to have a more ethical approach to the farmer."
He is confident of the quality of his fish, which are kept in fast flowing water and fed on 100 per cent organic and natural feed. "I think that, apart from the nuclear industry, we're one of the most heavily regulated areas," he jokes. But as both the feed and the resulting salmon are certified by the Soil Association, and since they also have to pass stringent tests on the welfare of both the fish and their environment, consumers can be confident they are buying the best, most natural salmon.
And his tips on the best way to cook it? For a starter on Christmas Day, he says, "Don't destroy the flavour, have it as simply cooked as you can, just in a nice bit of butter." And to drink along with it, "Well, at this time of year, many of us in Scotland have a small dram of whiskey though you could have a nice wine with it."
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