Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Buying the farmed (salmon, that is)

Super Tasty Wild SalmonI was at the grocery store last week buying wild Alaskan salmon (previously frozen) at an affordable $9.99 a pound, as another customer was asking the "fishmonger" for a cut of the wild salmon. When this customer spied the farmed Atlantic salmon for a mere $4.99 a pound, he immediately changed his order to the farmed, I suspect based on the cost.

I had to stop myself from saying anything, lest I came off sounding like a crazy lecturing enviro-nutball. Which, of course, I sometimes am.

1. The wild salmon fishery in Alaska is actually one of the few sustainable fisheries left in the world
2. Wild salmon has more heart-healthy Omega 3s
3. Wild salmon has considerably less PCBs as compared to farmed
4. Farmed salmon is oftentime dyed to give it the pink color
5. Farmed salmon spread parasites and disease to wild salmon and compete for habitat when they escape their pens

Song for the Blue OceanThe list goes on and on. (If you want to get really depressed about the state of our fisheries, read Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World's Coasts and Beneath the Seas.)

Anyway, what would you do? Or what do you do? Would you have launched into the many reasons why choosing wild, in spite of the cost, is better than farmed? Or would you hold your tongue? Or do you buy the farmed?

30 comments:

Jessica said...

I also find myself having to hold my tongue a lot when I am at the grocery store, but my pet peeve is people that use plastic produce bags.

pigbook1 said...

I hold my tongue for a couple of reasons. I wouldn't want others to judge my buying and because maybe by buying fish for cheaper the shopper can afford something they would have otherwise not have been able to purchase.

Annie said...

I probably wouldn't have said anything b/c I don't think it would have worked. It might have even made the person less receptive to the message in the future after she got an ear full from some crazy in the store. But I'm with you... sometimes it is very hard not to say anything.

We never buy farmed salmon. If we can't afford it, we don't eat it. It's kind of the way I feel about conventional meat too. If I can't afford to eat grass fed then I'll just go without. Conventional is so disgusting, toxic, and environmentally damaging that I'll take the beans and rice instead.

El Gaucho said...

I totally agree with Annie, if I can't afford the organic/sustainable/local option (like wild caught salmon or grass fed beef) then I'm just not going to buy it. It also makes the few times when I do buy those items even more special. When you have red meat every day it's not a big deal, but if you have it once a month it's pretty special.

Able-Bodied Girl said...

i might have said something if there was a social opening... eye contact with the culprit or the fishmonger... casually saying something like "ya know, that price used to tempt me a lot too! (big smile here) but once i learned that ... i decided it was better to buy the wild stuff. (understanding nod to their choice)" non-judgmental, but informative. you can't change people by force, but you can show them the way!

does anyone else use Seafood Watch when you shop for seafood? http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx
their mobile site is handy for checking on your purchases as you shop! and the pocket guides are great too, if you want to print it out and keep it with your coupons or whatnot.

Adrienne said...

I wouldn't have said anything unless the person wondered aloud what the difference was, or something along those lines. Anything to do with issues of where meat comes from (*any* kind of meat, from beef to fish) is a topic that gets me pretty ranty. I have to be careful as ranting at people does not tend to make them more receptive. Heh.

adventuresindinner said...

Plus...it takes so much better.

On the subject of holding your tongue in a grocery store I got told by a woman (that saw my diaper bag open) that my cloth diapers were "unhygenic" the other day. Go figure. I refrained from pointing out that her Wonder Bread and Bologna weren't winning any awards either.

Lynda said...

Well, I would have said something: to the fish monger within the customer's hearing range: "Sir, what is the difference between wild and farmed...mmmmm...really, well I think I'll be happy with the wild...seems to be worth every penny and so is my family.". I do it all the time with other things: sometimes it starts quite a dialogue.

Rachel said...

We only buy seafood a couple of times a year. We are lucky enough to have not one, but two *real* fishmongers near us. One of them only buys sustainable fish and that's generally where we go. They do have sustainably farmed salmon at $24.95/lb on sale and I have purchased that.

Corinne said...

I have a hard time holding my tongue, when I'm around my family. I usually go grocery shopping on wednesday so there is no one there.

Robj98168 said...

Actually, I wouldn't say anything. I believe that peoples choices are their own. Personally I would purchase the more expensive salmon, due to the fact that it should be more tasty. But that being said, I wouldn't have a problem with the farmed salmon either. The Gubment needs to make more stringent guidelines and rules on fish farms to keep the fish from escaping.
Oh yeah... how about a tapia tank y'all

Stone Cottage Mama said...

I've been enjoying your random posts on Take Back UH on FB. And congrats on the blog spot for Mother Earth!

Part of the reason we moved 30 minutes out into the country was so my husband could be closer to the rivers and catch our own fish. So far, he keeps cathcing them and giving them away. Grrr. Told him he's not allowed to do that anymore. I've been craving Seafood Chowder like crazy.

And yep, it's hard not to say anything at the stores. But it's not my money, so I usually hold my tongue.

Michelle said...

I stopped buying salmon. Sad, though.

Anonymous said...

I would have said "good choice" and asked them if they had visited a website called BCSalmonFacts.ca.

Carissa said...

I don't eat fish at all. I honestly don't understand why so many vegetarians eat fish. It seems like the state of the world's fisheries and the oceans in general is almost worse than what is going on up here with factory farms and all.

Carissa said...

And by "up here" of course, I mean "on land"

lisa f said...

The thing is, maybe that person didn't Know. (I used to not know.) Or maybe they don't care. Or maybe they Really Like salmon, but only had 5 bucks. In this instance I think tongue holding was wise. But certainly, if there is a non-condescending approach, a teachingnotbitching moment, take it. I will literally talk to anyone about anything. But ya gotta have timing...

ha!

Jackie said...

Once I found out that farmed salmon is often dyed to give it the pink color and often fed corn, I can't bring myself to support that industry any more. It's too bad they don't label farmed salmon...Artificial color no.9 and corn as ingredients!

Anonymous said...

Farmed salmon is not dyed. The colour comes from an important ingredient in their food. You can find out more about farmed salmonby visiting www.bcsalmonfacts.ca. It is an interactive site,so if have questions, ask away.

Crunchy Chicken said...

"Anonymous" - The majority of farmed salmon does not meet what you claim. And, furthermore, what percentage of farmed salmon sold in the U.S. is from the fishery you keep citing?

And, finally, you must either be getting paid to troll blogs for "anti-farmed salmon" dialog or you are somehow invested in it. Posting as "anonymous" doesn't help your credibility. What's your vested interest?

lisa f said...

Dear Annon,

Please stop being full of crap. The farmed salmon has a label Right On It that says COLOR ADDED. Don't Make me go to the store and take a picture.

lisa f said...

damn. I hate that I typoed anon. :(

i heart spinning said...

amen @Carissa

it's ALL bad, let's all roll up in a ball and cry. And when the tar sands get rollin, WE ARE DOOOOOMED

signed,
enviro nutball

Wendy said...

The only fish we ever buy is haddock - from the lobster pound up the road from where I live (yeah, don't hate me, I live on the coast in Maine ;).

I don't buy meat from the grocery store, because most of it is factory farmed. As such, were I put in your shoes, I would have held my tongue, because most people don't have a problem with factory farmed meat.

Plus, if I were going to nit-pick about what's in their cart, I'd have to talk about the soda in plastic bottles, all of the heavily processed food stuff, and the out-of-season and out-of-region produce. I wouldn't stop at just talking about the fish. What about the oranges from California and the strawberries from Florida? So, I say nothing, because, who has a couple of hours to get up on a soap box at the grocery store?

Valrico Veggie Girl said...

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Jennifer at Fast, Cheap, and Good said...

I always buy the wild salmon, regardless of price. For me, meat (including fish and chicken) is something that I buy the best quality available (most organic, most sustainably raised) and then just alter my quantity to fit my budget. I've written about the idea of "stretching" expensive items fairly often over at my blog.

I'm not really tempted to say anything to other customers. At least they are buying fish in a form that still looks like fish, rather than something that looks like a breaded rectangle. It is the ones with the "big gulp" sized soda in their carts while they shop, as if they have to do their shopping barefoot in the Mojave desert and might otherwise get dehydrated.

dandelionlady said...

It's really interesting reading what others do in that position. I'm often the "naggy" one in my friend circle, eating local, sustainable, etc. I would have to say, most the time in the grocery store I don't say a thing. It's just not the right venue. However I think my actions speak louder than words.

When I have a cart full of organic and local food, with lots of beans and fresh veggies people can literally see the difference. I've noticed people staring at my cart, and I've been asked by people many times how I cook a vegetable I'm picking up or what I do with a fruit. That's when I start to talk.

It's easy to get up on a soapbox, goodness knows, I've done it. But making people feel bad doesn't work. I really believe that the best thing I can do is live my life in a healthy, sustainable way and then people see how awesome and fun it can be.

Sam said...

I hold my tongue. Even amongst friends. They tell me they are unemployed/underpaid/or otherwise poor to afford wild salmon. So they buy farmed or unethical meat instead of going vegetarian or getting rid of their car or eating in more often. I'm friends with them because of other reasons, but sometimes I wonder because food is such a huge portion of my life if it is worth severing friendship ties. I don't want to be preachy but I also dislike arguing about reality because I find it pointless. I don't know. I think about this a lot. I am very averse to talking about why I make some decisions even toward a positive end...

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

We always buy wild caught but I would have held my tongue too.

DK said...

Back when we could afford it, I would buy the wild. Now our salmon comes in a can from Commodities, but it isn't something we have more than once every few months, if that even, because Gramma's actually the one who gets the Commodities, not us. I've been unemployed almost a year and our diet has changed to predominantly veg as a result, supplemented occasionally with Gram's Commodities stash and venison from my parents (they have an arrangement with a local farmer in their area who has a huge overpopulation problem on his land causing a lot of damage to his fruit tree crops).

That said, I have experienced being at the receiving end of some "lecturing enviro-nutball" who saw the package of organic greens in my cart (on sale *and* much better looking than the non-organic alternative) while I chose a bag of non-organic apples and felt obligated to explain my financial situation and how I was trying to put together a good 'welcome home' dinner for my brother upon the end of his year-long deployment to Afghanistan. I already feel guilty that I can't fit most organic foods into my available budget and also that recycling is not available where we live now except for glass and cans and that's only if I take it to the local Target which is a 30-minute drive away.

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