June has been a busy month for the BC Salmon Farmers Association and its members, especially with the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival taking place from June 9th-18th in the Courtenay – Comox region. The festival offers ten days of seafood tastings, chef demonstrations, gala dinners, educational seminars, aquaculture tours, and more – celebrating B.C.’s seafood industry, producers and its bounty. Here is a recap of some of the fantastic events that the BCSFA and its members had the pleasure of participating in.
Fresh Fest – June 10th
BCSFA kicked off Seafood Month with Fresh Fest, held at the Coastal Black Winery in Black Creek. The picturesque scenery of Vancouver Island’s wine country, matched with a warm spring evening, provided a perfect setting to celebrate B.C. grown seafood. Renowned Chefs from across the country including – Jinhee Lee (2017 Gold Medal Plates Champion) from Foreign Concept in Calgary, Trevor Bird (2017/2012 Top Chef Canada Competitor) from Fable Kitchen in Vancouver, Ned Bell (2017 Global Seafood Champion Award) from the Vancouver Aquarium, and Ronald St. Pierre from Locals Restaurant in Courtenay – delighted guest’s taste buds and imaginations using an assortment of seafood sourced from around B.C. Over 300 guests were provided with the opportunity to taste and appreciate seafood creations, including industry partners, international seafood buyers, local/international media, government, and public. The smooth melodies of Vancouver musician, Ari Neufeld, added to the leisurely and fun atmosphere, as guests enjoyed the delicious seafood and good company.
Salmon Capital Seafood Taste – June 11th
The inaugural Salmon Capital Seafood Taste brought the BC Seafood Festival to the Heart of Campbell River for the first time in the Festival’s history. Located in Spirit Square, members of the community and salmon farm tour groups (international/local media, international buyers, and BC Seafood Expo delegates) were invited to enjoy unique and innovative seafood tastings presented by Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver chefs. International Chef/North Island Culinary instructor, Xavier Bauby served up three dishes including an indulgent Chinook Gravlax Macaron stuffed with apple goat cheese. Culinary Team Canada Champion, Dave Ryan amazed guests with fresh tasting layered salmon cocktails, while Vancouver-based Chef, Siddharth Choudhary presented an ‘Indian style’ Barbecued Salmon with Biryani Rice. Comox Valley local, Chef Kathryn Guenette topped things off with Sake Marinated Sablefish over Crispy Rice Crackers. Luke Blu Guthrie also made the short trip up the highway and kept everyone entertained while they enjoyed fine food and a day in the sun. Campbell River Mayor, Andy Adams welcomed all guests to Campbell River and thanked the Aquaculture industry for giving back to the community. This successful event raised $1018 for the Campbell River Hospital Foundation.
BC Seafood Expo – June 12th & 13th
The BC Seafood Expo brought together seafood and aquaculture industry leaders, businesses, chefs and educators. The Expo, held in downtown Courtenay, produced its largest industry trade show to date, featuring fantastic interactive booths and displays from BCSFA members and other industry representatives. Attendees also took in educational and informative sessions, where speakers presented on range of relevant and engaging topics including ‘Seafood Fraud & Traceability’
and ‘New Cultured Species in BC’. On day one, keynote speaker and host of CBC Radio’s Under the Influence, Terry O’Reilly delved into the challenges and opportunities of marketing B.C. grown seafood. On day two, it was Ocean Wise Ambassador, Chef Ned Bell’s turn to take to the stage, advocating for sustainable seafood and spreading the message “whether it’s farmed or wild fish, it’s all seafood”.
A highlight of the BC Seafood Expo was the International Buyers Reception held the evening of June 12th. With food and beverage (wine, beer, and spirits) tasting stations spread out between the Native Sons Hall and the Filberg Centre, there definitely was definitely plenty to eat and drink!
Van Isle 360 – June 12th
Taking a quick break from the Seafood Festival, BCSFA teamed up with Marine Harvest to welcome over 200 participants of the Van Isle 360 international yacht race to the Hardwicke Island salmon farm. On the morning of June 12th competitors set out on their journey from Campbell River to Telegraph Cove and tethered up to the farm for the night. Thanks to a strong wind, all crews arrived at the farm in the early afternoon, allowing them to tie up and rest after a hard day’s work. Farm staff were on hand to answer the crew’s questions about raising salmon in B.C. and how the farm operates. The highlight of the day was the catered salmon buffet that the race participants were treated to, making sure they would have enough energy for the next leg of the race.
BC Produce Marketing Association Golf Tournament – June 14th
Partnering with the BC Produce Marketing Association, the BCSFA was one of the food sponsors for their annual Spring Golf Tournament, held at Hazelmere Golf Club. The 144 golfers competing in the tournament were treated to a range of food and beverages as they made their way through the 18-hole golf course. Located on the first hole, BCSFA worked with Chef Dave Ryan to provide golfers with barbecued salmon tacos. Topped off with a fresh mango salsa and coleslaw, the dish received great reviews and had players returning for seconds and even thirds.
Comox by the Sea – June 18th
Comox by the Sea marked the final day of the
BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival, inviting seafood producers, educational institutions, chefs and seafood lovers to taste and learn about B.C.’s seafood industry. Held at the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park in Comox, the grounds teemed with tasting stations and chefs who provided a bounty of delicious seafood dishes. Attendees also had the opportunity to view the popular seafood competitions, the Fanny Bay Oysters Shucking Championship and the Oceanwise Chowder Challenge. BCSFA partnered with Grieg Seafood to host a food station at this year’s event – barbecuing approximately 500 marinated salmon burgers, which were served with a side of potato salad. Many festival participants who indulged in a salmon burger returned to compliment the chef and staff on the tasty preparation of their meal. Grieg Seafood staff have participated in Comox by the Sea since its inception and have seen it grow into the flagship public event of the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival. All proceeds raised from the BCSFA food station is being donated to the North Island College Foundation.
Farm Tours – June 11th-17th
During the BC Seafood Festival, BCSFA operated multiple private and public farm tours. On June 11th, the tour groups that consisted of international buyers, media, chefs, and BC Seafood Expo delegates visited Marine Harvest’s Hardwicke Island farm. In addition, a group of chefs who participated in Fresh Fest took a short scenic flight from Comox to Grieg Seafood’s Barnes Bay farm in Okisollo Channel, providing them with the opportunity to experience a salmon farm firsthand and gain a greater understanding of one of B.C.’s most sought after seafood product.
BCSFA ran public tours to Marine Harvest’s Althorpe farm on June 15th and 17th. Participants had the opportunity to speak with the salmon farmers, see the operations – technology and innovations – and hear about how the industry has advanced over the years. Guests enjoyed a taste of farmed-raised salmon at lunch – salmon wraps, smoked salmon and salmon ceviche. Participants on the June 17th tour were even lucky enough to even see a grizzly bear!
BCSFA would like to thank all its members and partners for their hard work and contributions throughout the month of June. It has been an eventful month and we look forward to collaborating with everyone again in 2018!