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A heart warming feeling!

For humble smokers to get a mention in the newpapers is always good news! And to get a mention in the Financial Times, or FT for those in the know, is great news!

Interestingly enough they make the comment “Irish smoked salmon is something of a connoisseur alternative to the stuff that comes from Scotland or Scandinavia but stocks of wild salmon of the Irish coast are so depleted that environmentally minded smokeries are taking it off their lists until numbers recover.”

We have had a number of enquiries for wild salmon as the Chrsitmas orders for smoked salmon come in, but we have given them our position and converted most! There will always be those who won’t listen and don’t understand the pressures that the wild salmon have been under, and will continue to be so for a while yet.

I was walking along the banks of the River Argideen which runs below the smokehouse the other day; it was very heart warming to see so many wild salmon in the river, more than I have ever seen before; in recent years, to see one salmon was a red letter day. If this is replicated on many Irish rivers, and they are left alone, then they will spawn and in 3 to 4 years time it will be exciting to be beside an Irish river.

Of course, there are other real problems which must be addressed such as the quality of the spawning beds and the quality of the water which now is so adulterated with pollution from agriculture and sceptic tanks.

[tags] Financial Times, Argideen, FT, wild salmon[/tags]

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Caveat Emptor – again!

Our last post was about labelling of organic salmon.

Perhaps a few words about labelling of wild salmon might be helpful.

With Wild Atlantic Salmon being so scarce this year, if you are looking for the genuine Irish Smoked Wild Atlantic Salmon this Christmas do make sure that it is what you think it is! Flying out of Dublin Airport recently, I saw Smoked Wild Salmon in the shop and if I didn’t know better, I would have assumed that it was Wild Irish Atlantic Salmon. But it wasn’t!

It was wild pacific salmon, shipped half way round the world, smoked in Ireland and sold as Smoked Wild Salmon. Technically correct, but I don’t think that’s the point.

It is highly misleading. And how did I know that it was from the pacific? Under labelling regulations, we have to put on the label one of several options for describing the origin of the fish. In this specific case, you can either put the “Caught in FAO Area 67” or “Caught in North West Pacific”. In this case the smokers preferred to hide the origins under the code so that unsuspecting shoppers wouldn’t know that it wasn’t Irish.

Is it Smoked Irish Salmon or Irish Smoked Salmon? Caveat Emptor!

[tags] wild salmon, wild atlantic salmon, smoked salmon, Dublin Airport, labelling regulations[/tags]

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Speciality & Fine Food Fair Olympia – Stand 638

This is the third visit of Ummera Smoked Products to the Speciality and Fine Food Fair. It is irresistible!
Ummera is a tiny company, employing four people (and not all fulltime!), but somehow their name and reputation has spread to many places far from their home in West Cork, Ireland.
In this year’s Bridgestone Irish Food Guide, written by John and Sally McKenna, they say of Ummera “….seems to pick up culinary awards as often as the rest of us have hot dinners.” They go on to say, “It’s no surprise that his smoked foods should be so garlanded, for they have a delicacy, a subtlety, that shows the smoking process being used at its zenith.
In March 2007, Ummera were honoured with the Irish Guild of Food Writers Award for their Smoked Silver Eel. Sadly, the eel stocks are in great difficulty so this is almost a posthumous award.
In August, the Irish Food and Wine Magazine had their annual Restaurant of the Year Awards in Dublin. A new Award was introduced this year for Best Artisan Supplier; Ummera was one of the nominees for the award and received a Highly Commended.
Ummera’s new product for 2007 is an Organic Gravadlax. Launched quietly early this year, Ummera has been delighted with the response to this simple marinated salmon.
By using the very finest of ingredients in the marinade, Ummera has lifted the simple to a complex. The organic salmon are sourced from the west coast of Ireland; the salt comes from traditional saltpans at Tavira, on the Algarve, Portugal. The dill and peppercorns are organic and Ummera uses a raw cane sugar organically grown in Costa Rica; the last international element to their Gravadlax comes from the London & Scottish Distillery in London, an organic whisky.
[tags]Olympia, Speciality and Fine Food Fair, Bridgestone Irish Food Guide, Food and Wine Magazine, Gravadlax, Organic Whisky, Tavira, saltpans[/tags]

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An interesting and welcome comment……

The following item shows some maturity in the fish farming world at last.  The other major item which conventional salmon farming needs to address urgently is the food which they feed the salmon with.  How long can the ocean’s eco system survive with the vast tonnage of  wild fish being extracted to turn into fish meal?

“Scotland’s “wild salmon interests” and angling organisations have welcomed the “unprecedented statement” by Marine Harvest’s major shareholder John Fredriksen reportedly acknowledging that ‘many salmon farms could be inappropriately sited’. The comments made in July by the Norwegian oil and shipping tycoon (the world’s 104th richest man, also a keen fly fisherman) include the following statement: “I am concerned about the future for wild salmon. Fish farming should not be allowed in fjords with salmon rivers.” The Scottish salmon angling community fast took note of what they qualify as a “ground-breaking declaration” that ‘no salmon farms should be located within any sea lochs into which salmon rivers discharge’. “This statement from one of the most influential players in the salmon farming industry confirms what many of us have been telling the industry and its regulators for so many years and which the evidence now supports – namely, that some salmon farming may be located in sites which are incompatible with the sustainable management of healthy populations of wild salmon and sea trout,” commented Andrew Wallace, Director of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards and Policy Director of the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland. “The challenge now is to identify these sensitive sites and to get them moved”. Roger Brook, chairman of the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS), added that this “unequivocal acknowledgment” equated to stating that a “great majority of the marine farms are inappropriately located. We now eagerly await details of the industry’s plans to relocate the farms and indeed confirmation that the Executive is willing to support and facilitate such moves”. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Salmon Association (NSA) also welcomed the ‘brave comment’, and Irish anglers are also calling today (August 9th) the government to relocate some of the West of Ireland’s fish farms”

[tags]Marine Harvest, Norwegian Salmon Association, John Fredriksen, Salmon, Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland[/tags]

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The price of fish……

The UK Daily Telegraph’s Magazine section today carried an article by Rose Prince about Ummera and our position on the wild salmon situation this year. If you missed it, then it can be read here , although the online version is missing some of the photos (including one of me, headless!!).

As with any article, there is the odd howler! Rose writes about Jonathan “butchering” the salmon when clearly he is filleting them!

[tags]Daily Telegraph, wild salmon, Rose Prince, Argideen[/tags]