We recently celebrated our 30 year anniversary and have been lucky enough to have more than half of those year’s with Senior Purchasing Manager, Larry Colling in our “pod”. The below is a short excerpt on the annual trip Colling makes to Bristol Bay, insuring that this wonderful salmon arrives to your plate in the best condition possible.
Reds, Bluebacks, Nerka, Red gold…
Just a few of the names for this prized salmon species.
I personally have travelled to Bristol bay for the last 11 years in a row to participate in the processing of this fish.
We typically have at least 2 people on site and sometimes many more visiting, to not only see the product that is being produced on our behalf, but to also actively participate in the actual production in all facets from offload to storage, to setting quality standards and doing on site QC checks and working hands on with the employees of the plants, training how to fillet better and pin bone better and get the product through the plant in as good of condition as possible.
This is such a unique fishery and has so many people’s livelihoods relying on it, that we have dedicated ourselves to helping in any way that we can to grow the desirability and the ease of use to enable as many people as possible to experience firsthand why it has so many people crowing about its flavor and color and texture and health benefits
A typical day for us during the season starts with a wake up at 4 a.m. to have a chance to get to the chow line, why such a lovely hour? Because most plants run 3 shifts that each do 16 hours, such that you always have 2 shifts working at any given time, allowing the 3 shift to have 8 hours off for sleeping and running any errands that might be needed.. (laundry is done by the plant, as well as the meal prep for the cafeteria style meals)
Because we are there to insure that all employees are working to the level necessary to give you that wow experience, we need to make sure and hit all three shifts, so we will work 4 or 5 hours first thing in the morning, go sleep for a few hours, get up, hit the lunch line, work 3 or 4 more hours, all the while still keeping in contact with the home office to update and report, have dinner, work another 4 or 5 hours sleep a few more hours and then do it all over again..
This “peak” of the run can go for anywhere from 2 -3 weeks with a little build up time and a little let off time on the “shoulders” of the run.
We need to have enough employees flown in early enough to make sure that you aren’t caught by a surprise early run, but at the same time you can’t be off by that much, as to feed and house 100’s of employees with no fish running through the plant is very costly.
The logistics of this enterprise are huge, most of the packaging, the equipment and gear have to be either barged up or flown up, and purchased and planned enough beforehand to insure arrival prior to the season.
There are some benefits to working up there in the bay, if you are lucky enough, you may see some of the local residents feasting on this same fish, they know how good and nutritious this fish is.
We hope that all the effort that we put into this fishery is evident in every bite that you take.