Food has always been a human story. Food brings people together. We share community and fellowship with those we love by breaking bread with them. Food is sacred. It’s what we put in our bodies and gives us life. In the case of Seafood Producers Cooperative, producers put their hearts and souls into bringing a pure, wild, minimally processed protein to people who want to enjoy quality ingredients. The people behind this food work hard, each bringing their unique style and background to their craft.
The fishermen-owners of Seafood Producers Cooperative are a collective of optimists and some of the last producers of a pure, unadulterated wild protein produced using traditional fishing methods on this planet. We are courageous, free-spirited and independent but also community-minded. Because anybody who has ever fished for a living knows that there will come a moment when you will have to depend on your peers, your fellow fleet members, and your community for help. Our producer-owners are Alaskans. They’re also New Yorkers who hitchhike to Alaska looking for adventure but end up staying because they can’t imagine any other way to live. We are independent-minded. Many of us are highly opinionated. But some of us are also soft-spoken, humble because we’ve been humbled by nature. Some of us were school teachers who, looking for summer income, got hooked and stayed in Alaska to fish. Some of us were executives for Wall Street banks or Silicon Valley start-ups who ditched those lives to go fishing. For some, fishing for a living is all we know and all we’’ll ever know.
Meet some of our producers below. And don’t forget that our Diamond anniversary coupon expires Friday May 31st at midnight PST. Use the following coupon code for $75 off on orders over $300: akgolddiamondanniversary
Thank you for being part of our history,
The Producer-owners of Seafood Producers Cooperative, whose products are available for home delivery at AlaskaGoldBrand.com.
*Monday, May 27th, we are closed to observe the Memorial Day Holiday. Our customer service will not be available nor will we be shipping on that Monday. We expect to experience exceptionally high order volume on the Tuesday after Memorial Day. We will do our best to ship all orders on those Tuesdays. However, we will contact you if we think we may need to hold any regular 1-2 day ground shipments for shipping on Wednesday. Please contact us before ordering if you need an order by a specific date and there is a possibility we can shepherd an order through to get there in time, but note we will be available only on a limited basis.
*Thursday, July 4th we are closed to observe the Independence Day Holiday. The week of 4th of July we will have very limited availability for customer service and for shipping. Frozen shipments that will go out on Monday July 1st are in our 1 and 2-day zones. perishables will ship. See our shipping questions to see what zone you are in. Tuesday- 1-day perishables will ship. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, no frozen seafood will ship.
*Monday, September 2nd to observe the Labor Day Holiday. We expect to experience exceptionally high order volume on the Tuesday after Labor Day. We will do our best to ship all orders on those Tuesdays. However, we will contact you if we think we may need to hold any regular 1-2 day ground shipments for shipping on Wednesday. Please contact us before ordering if you need an order by a specific date and there is a possibility we can shepherd an order through to get there in time, but note we will be available only on a limited basis.
Place is an essential element of our Alaska Gold
Seafood story. And at 3 points in our Co-op’s 75-year history the special place
where we operate has forever altered who we are as a fishermen-owned co-op. To
celebrate our 75-year anniversary, we’d like to share those stories of place here:
In 1952, several Co-op fishermen
began pioneering fishing spots on the Fairweather Grounds. Fishing at the
Grounds opened the Co-op up to some very productive fishing grounds in some of
the wildest country on the planet.
The 1964 Good Friday earthquake and
subsequent tsunami destroyed just about everything that the Co-op had in the
region, leaving the Co-op in an existential crisis.
The building of our fishermen-owned Sitka
plant satisfied our Co-op’s over-riding concern for maintaining a top-qualityproduct from ocean to market.
The Fairweather Grounds
In 1952, Toivo Andersen in his boat the Greta, Oscar Vienola in the Anna Marie, and Arthur Vienola in the Belle J pioneered salmon trolling in the Fairweather Grounds. Fairweather Grounds is a misnomer, as the grounds are known for being rich with life but surrounded by deep, unforgiving waters and open ocean. Ferocious winds and choppy waves hit where the continental shelf rises toward the surface of the ocean, creating hazardous conditions for the small fishing vessels that operate there.
To navigate, the original Fairweather fishermen
used compasses, fathometers, and radio direction finders that enabled them to
take bearings on each other. When their fathometers indicated they were in
fifty fathoms, they would find themselves on the edge of the shelf, the most
productive waters, and they would let go a halibut anchor with buoy line and
flagpole attached so that they could orient themselves and find it again. After
discovering how rich the grounds were for fish, these pioneering fishermen
would bring a new innovation that had been a “secret weapon” during the final
days of World War II, the Loran (Long Range Navigation). Loran required skill
and tinkering, but gave these fishermen a better chance of finding their best
spots. As it became easier to find the shelf, other boats began following these
Fairweather fishermen out to the Fairweather Grounds. All these fishermen risked
and continue to risk rough seas in one of the wildest corners on the planet.
On the coast near the Fairweather Grounds, Lituya
Bay has been a refuge for salmon and halibut fishermen during storms and it has
a fascinating history documented well in one of our late fishermen Francis
Caldwell’s Land of the Ocean Mists.
Entrance to Lituya Bay can be made provided the tide is flooding and outside
swell conditions are not causing the bar to break. Judging the current is key.
At high tide the entrance is about 1,000 feet wide, but at low water it is
reduced by shallow banks of sand and gravel to 600 feet. If a heavy swell is
breaking, the entrance is then reduced to about 150 feet between breakers. The
tremendous volume of water that flows into and out of the bay every 6 hours is
forced through this narrow entrance, producing, at times, 12-knot currents.
Following a 1958 earthquake that registered 8.3 on the Richter scale, a massive tsunami wave shot water up 1720 feet up a ridge pulling all of massive trees and glacial boulders off the surrounding valley out of the bay, the scars of which are still visible. Three fishing vessels were anchored for the night when this massive wave, the largest wave in recorded history, came crashing upon them. Two boats and their fishermen were lost to sea. Another fishermen, Howard Ulrich on the F/V Edrie, rode out the wave, watching the eerie sight of tree tops snapping below his boat, and his frantic mayday was heard by the fleet in areas surrounding.
For days after the events of the July 9, 1958 earthquake the fishing fleet in the area was demoralized. Many could not shake the melancholy feeling that they could easily have been anchored in the bay at the time of the giant wave. And after considerable meditation, a few fishermen resolved never again to anchor in Lituya Bay. The fact remains, today as in 1958, that if one is going to fish the Fairweather Grounds sooner or later one will be forced into Lituya Bay by a blow. The fisherman is then subject to the mathematical odds that there will be another giant wave.
The Good Friday Disaster
In 1962, the Co-op installed a freezer capable of handling halibut and salmon in Seward, Alaska. Production, prices and ownership numbers were at record highs for the Co-op, but nobody could have foreseen the upcoming disaster. On Good Friday, 1964, an earthquake that measured 8.6 on the Richter scale struck Alaska. The shaking lasted four long, terrible minutes and the epicenter was very near the Co-op plant in Seward. Massive submarine slides started 30 seconds after the quake hit and generated enormous seismic waves. All plant employees had fortunately gone home for supper, but the plant, which stood on a dock overhanging the water, was completely destroyed. Not a board left! Divers, hired to search the wreckage, only found a hole where the plant stood!! The entire Seward waterfront disappeared and the new shoreline was 300 feet inland from its pre-quake tide line.
As an “act of God” disaster, nothing could be
recovered from insurance. The plant, however, did have flood insurance on a
boiler. The Co-op thought it obvious that that the boiler washed away in a
“flood,” but the insurance company had other thoughts. It was ruled that the Co-op
wasn’t entitled to a single cent. In addition to a total loss, the Co-op now
had to pay considerable attorney fees in their lost suit. One important caveat
to being a fishermen-owned business: With ownership comes inherent risk that
the fishermen bear, although this risk is borne across a cooperative of owners
in our case. In a history of our Co-op published in 1980 by fishermen Francis
and Donna Caldwell, The Ebb and The Flood,
this chapter ends with a bitter but realistic note that says it all about
lose something, a 50-pound trolling lead today, an anchor tomorrow, once in a
while a boat, or even a life, is common in the [fishing] industry. The sea
gives, the sea takes away.”
During this time and in subsequent years, there was much discussion of dissolving the Co-op. But the courage of the board of directors at that time to keep the Co-op alive and solvent stands as a keystone in the history of the Co-op.
The Sitka Plant
With the Good Friday Disaster in the backs of their minds, the Co-op’s Board of Directors proceeded with caution to build the fishermen-owned plant in Sitka, with construction beginning in November 1979. At the heart of the Co-op’s decision to forge ahead with the Sitka plant was its overriding concern for maintaining a top-quality product from ocean to market.
Sitka was chosen because of its proximity to
salmon trolling grounds like the waters of Cape Edgecumbe and the edge of the
continental shelf, waters rich with halibut and sablefish. Big overhead came
out of fishermen-owners’ settlements and there was great discussion about how
to allocate the costs of building the plant fairly to all owners. Nonetheless,
there were 95 Co-op owner resignations in 1981 and 120 in 1983, as the Co-op
was losing money to fund the plant. It took extraordinary sacrifice to realize
this dream of having a fishermen-owned plant, and those fishermen with the
courage to stick with the Co-op helped keep alive a ruggedly independent
organization owned by and for fishermen with tremendous pride in the products
they produce. This pride is at the core of who we are.
I recently spoke with Lee Krause, Board President at the time that the plant was built, and he noted that it was a busy time with architects and builders coming to Sitka to make the plant a reality. “I was in over my head. All I could tell them was I wanted cold ice. Our main concern in that time was to have our own plant that could take good care of us, where we could get cold ice, so we could produce quality fish.” Lee’s humble statement sums up just about the entire history of our Co-op: service for West Coast fishermen and a relentless commitment to quality.
On this date in 1944, the legal contract for the formation of our fishermen-owned Co-op was signed. Celebrate with us. Use the following coupon code at checkout for $75 off orders over $300:
Expires May 31st, 2019.
Thank you for being part of our history,
The Producer-owners of Seafood Producers
Cooperative, whose products are available for home delivery at
On May 12th, 1944 the legal contract for the
formation of our fishermen-owned co-op was signed. This May we’re going to
celebrate our diamond anniversary by giving you our customers $75 off orders of $300 or more.
During this month, we’ll share with you the history of our co-op in several stories, starting today with the story of how West Coast fishermen would band together to form our Seafood Producers Cooperative. Thanks to the courage of these original pioneers in 1944, we are here today and you can purchase our fish for home delivery at www.alaskagoldbrand.com. Thank you for being part of our history!
The fishermen-owners of Seafood Producers Cooperative
are some of the last producers of a pure, unadulterated wild protein caught
using traditional fishing methods on this planet. And our co-op has been instrumental
in preserving this unique way of life.
Primary producers of real food, particularly fishermen, have had a long history of being taken advantage of. Fishermen’s guilds started popping up well over 2000 years ago in the effort to protect fishermen from the whims of nature and markets. It is certainly possible that Jesus’s disciples formed part of a fishermen’s guild of a similar sort on the Sea of Galilee. All of these guilds and co-ops were formed with the intent to protect fishermen, but few have had the staying power of our co-op, which has been around for 75 years serving as a bulwark of the West coast fishing community because of a laser focus on quality products and service and serving the fishermen.
More than a way for fishermen to take control of
the profits from their catch, our Co-op became a community in which fishermen
banded together in order to make their own destinies.
It’s difficult to gauge the wake that our Co-op
spurred on the West Coast fishing industry. Before our Co-op existed, fishermen
had limited markets for their products. There were plenty of strikes among
fishermen in southeast Alaska. Since our Co-op’s inception, there have not been
any fishermen strikes in southeast Alaska. What our Co-op brought was a plant
that the fishermen would eventually own themselves and the opportunity for
fishermen to get more consistently fair prices. In other words, our Co-op became
a way for fishermen to earn a living wage for their hard work of producing
Our Co-op is an organization owned by fishermen, for fishermen. And it allows fishermen to wield their own future. If you speak with any fishermen-owners about why they joined our Co-op or why they’re fishermen, you will undoubtedly hear that they like being their own boss and being the captains of their own destinies. A co-op that the fishermen own with a fishermen board of directors made up of their peers that makes the tough decisions on setting our Co-op’s direction has made it possible for these fishermen to live their ruggedly independent lifestyle their own way.
Since its inception, producers have kept our
Co-op alive with a rugged “share the pain, share the gain” mindset. With a
sales office in Bellingham, Washington and most fishing operations taking place
in southeast Alaska, our Co-op has deep roots in the Pacific Northwest, but
there is something quintessentially American about our Co-op, which allows
fishermen to be the captains of their own destinies. And that’s what makes our
Co-op keep on keeping on.
The growth of our Co-op has been filled with many learning moments. As an organization owned by ruggedly independent producers who make a living on the ocean, it is somewhere between extremely difficult and impossible to make all content. But when we as fishermen return from a long, difficult fishing trip out on the edge and pull into our plant in Sitka, it is our plant waiting to receive our fish. One of the reasons that our Co-op has survived and flourished is our strict adherence to Rochdale’s Seven Principles, which give direction to cooperative organizations. The other reason that our Co-op has flourished is that we have not lost sight of our quality-focused mission.
is the keystone of our Co-op. This tradition of quality began with the very
first fishermen’s annual meeting taking place in 1944. An expert was brought in
to speak at length on how to improve quality. To this day quality is a pervasive theme in all meetings of the fishermen Board
of Directors. Quality is so important to who we are because our organization is
built on the pride we have in producing our
fish for our company. But our co-op’s
reputation built on quality doesn’t derive from just bleeding and icing fish
correctly to produce the freshest quality fish, but also having a relationship
based on integrity and transparency with our customers.
We really hope that you the enjoy the fruits of our co-op’s labor—you can order our seafood online for home delivery at www.AlaskaGoldBrand.com. Stay tuned this month for more stories on our co-op, including a story on the special place where we fish, and the stories of the actual producers that form part of our co-op, and more. Also, celebrate with us. Take $75 off an order of $300 or more of our Alaska Gold Seafood.
Use coupon code: AKGoldDiamondAnniversary
Expires May 31st, 2019.
The Producer-owners of Seafood Producers
Cooperative, whose products are available for home delivery at www.AlaskaGoldBrand.com
Spring is here and it’s time to grill some salmon.
We’d like to encourage our customers to try different species of our salmon. Everything we do is quality and all of our line-caught salmon are the pinnacle of quality. We offer these tasting notes to help you choose:
Of the Pacific wild salmon that we sell, there are king salmon. With meat colors ranging from orange-red to creamy white and everything in between, mostly depending on the ratio of shrimp and krill to prey fish they are eating, these are the largest and least numerous of the Pacific salmon. King salmon tend to return to bigger river systems to spawn and to prepare for this journey up big, fast-moving streams, they build up a lot of what for us are the good fats loaded with heart-healthy Omega-3s. The king salmon’s big flake and succulent, rich flavor and very high oil content make them very much in demand and the most popular seafood item we sell. The best way to cook would be a slow grill at 275° F over a flavorful hardwood like alder or cedar. Capers or mustard-y acidic sauces will help balance out the fish flavor of a king salmon.
A very close second in popularity is our coho salmon. Milder and more delicate, with a peachy orange color, coho salmon’s quality and flavor benefit greatly from being line-caught, as their delicate meat, prized for pairing with fine meals, is kept in pristine condition with the dedicated handling procedures practiced on trolling boats. Like king salmon, coho salmon are rich in oils and coho salmon are particularly rich in vitamin D, while being leaner than king salmon. Their mild flavor makes them easy to pair with all kinds of recipes and a family favorite and pleasing also to picky eaters and children alike. The coho is more delicate and a little bit more prone to overcooking than king salmon. Both the coho salmon portions we sell and the larger fillets are thinner than king salmon, but this thinner fillet can mean a more consistent cook throughout the fish, and some of our customers, myself included, prefer the thinner coho salmon fillets and portions over the king salmon for this reason. (I also really like the milder flavor of the coho.) Once again, low and slow on the grill is the way to go to avoid overcooking.
Another species of salmon that benefits from being line-caught is keta salmon. Most keta salmon are caught in nets as they approach streams and the end of their lives with poor meat quality, making them eventually sold in lower-end markets. In contrast, our Alaska Gold wild keta salmon are caught on hook and line. By definition, line-caught salmon are actively feeding and at the peak of their quality.The difference in being line-caught cannot be underestimated. Our Alaska Gold keta salmon are very mild, moist, and delicious, and can be used in a variety of recipes, like this Keta Salmon Curry with Lemongrass and Galanga Recipe or this Sweet Chili Keta Salmon recipe. One of the best ways to enjoy keta salmon is slow-grilled with teriyaki sauce. A blackening seasoning or creamy sauces like those used for a Halibut Olympia recipe also work well with our keta salmon.
Have you tried our sockeye salmon?? Sockeye salmon is one of the more numerous Alaskan salmon. They are prized for their deep red color, firm texture and robust flavor. They are plankton eaters and do not usually take hooks, so they are rarely caught on hook and line. From time to time we offer the rare line-caught sockeye salmon we catch for sale on the Alaska Gold website. This is a really, really special offering, as less than 1/100th of 1% of sockeye salmon available in stores are caught on hook and line and benefit from both the care given to each fish that is typical for a line-caught salmon and also being caught in a state of active feeding. Sockeye salmon, because of their bold flavor, can hold their own with super-flavorful spices and sauces. DO NOT MISS this wonderful line-caught sockeye salmon!
Quality starts in the water. The initial condition of the fish establishes the upper limit of it’s quality. From there it can only be degraded, not improved- thus a net-caught salmon, typically caught near the river mouth, won’t match the quality of a line-caught salmon on the open ocean.
If you haven’t tried our keta salmon portions yet, get prepared for a very pleasant surprise. Here is a glowing review from one of our customers:
“The first time we got the keta salmon portions I cooked them up with a really simple recipe. I baked them up plain at 400° F for 9 minutes. When done I sprinkled some seasoning salt on top and served with a pasta dish. Cooked, they look almost like a white fish like halibut–just a very gentle pink coloring. The taste was a nice blend of mild, moist and delicate. Like the combination of a halibut and salmon. The keta salmon is also like halibut in flavor—not quite as meaty, but really delicate with subtle undertones of pleasant salmon. These keta salmon portions would pair well with other dishes in which you would use halibut or other white fish. We decided to go ahead and order 20 pounds to fill our freezer and feed the family. With the bulk order, it’s a great price for wild salmon that tastes great and is nourishing!”
The vast majority of keta salmon are net-caught as they approach streams and near the end of their lives. In contrast, our Alaska Gold wild keta salmon are caught on hook and line and, by definition, these salmon are actively feeding, and therefore at the peak of their quality. (Keta rhymes with “you can’t beat a…” as in “you can’t beat a keta.) Being line-caught, they are also well taken care of on the boat by the fishermen rather than sitting for long periods of time in big nets. The difference in being line-caught cannot be underestimated. Line-caught wild keta salmon is exceedingly rare, making up less than one percent of keta salmon harvested. These are special fish!
“Have you ever had a miso-marinade black cod? It’s just like lobster tail, but better. This is the best seafood I’ve ever had!” This is how one of our customers reviewed our black cod portions.
Try our miso-marinated black cod recipe. Sablefish, commonly known as black cod, pairs really well also with teriyaki sauce. Sablefish is one of the easiest seafood items to cook–since it is so loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, sablefish is nearly impossible to overcook. Just a gentle amount of salt and cook until it is slightly browned which makes sablefish’s truly unique taste pop.
Go ahead. We dare you to try something new. Sablefish is an Omega-3 powerhouse.
We used to pack a sampler box with our classic offerings. We are no longer packing this sampler box, but we invite you to customize your own sampler pack to try something new for the new year.
Here’s how you can customize your own variety pack:
*Select the fish you want from here. We have box sizes of six portions, 5 pounds and 10 pounds. Combine the species you want. For example, select 5 pounds of halibut and 6 portions of king salmon. Once you select two or more offers and put them in your cart, and enter the following coupon codes at the checkout screen…
With 2 offers in your cart, get $50 off your order with coupon code:2FishSamplerPack
With 3 offers in your cart, get $75 off your order with coupon code:3FishSamplerPack
With 4 offers in your cart, get $100 off your order with coupon code: 4FishSamplerPack
“We’re hooked.” It’s amazing how often we hear those words from our Alaska Gold Club members.
Alaska Gold Club members get a regular shipment of our hook and line-caught wild seafood, making it the most convenient way to get ultra-high quality, nutritious wild Alaskan seafood into their lives and make a routine of healthy eating.
*Alaska Gold Club members are part of our Loyalty Program. Once you sign up, the default is set for monthly auto-shipments, but contact us if you’d prefer to receive shipment every 6 weeks, two months or two weeks—there are lots of other options, too. We’re flexible. If you’re traveling, just contact us and we’ll arrange for another shipping time. Alaska Gold Club members also get discounts on adding boxes to their regular orders.