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We Know Our Sources: Verlasso Salmon

Verlasso Salmon is a must-try from our Seafood Department.

These Omega-3 rich fish have a silky, buttery texture that is perfect for grilling, baking or poaching.  “Our customers absolutely love it,” says Marty Gaul, Heinen’s Seafood Buyer. “They are really impressed with the clean, mild flavor. I encourage everyone to try it. One taste and you’ll be hooked!”

So, aside from the great flavor, what makes Verlasso salmon so crave-worthy? The team at Verlasso gave us a peek under the water.

Whole Verlasso Salmon

What Makes Verlasso Unique from Other Farmed Salmon?
Verlasso was formed out of a desire to raise salmon in a new way. They altered a number of typical salmon farming practices to be more sustainable and friendly to the environment while thoughtfully considering what needed to be done to provide salmon for many generations.

They feed their fish to optimize health and vigor, resulting in a tastier and healthier end product for the consumer. Their fish also have more room to swim, so they’re leaner than other farmed salmon. In fact, Verlasso has roughly two fish for every cubic ton of water.

Where and How are Verlasso Salmon Raised?
Verlasso salmon are raised in Patagonia, which is in the southern part of Chile. It’s a remote location with very deep, pristine and cold (about 50˚F) waters, making it the perfect place for happy fish. The climate is cool year around and rain is abundant.

Wondering just how remote this location truly is? It requires an hour-and-a-half flight from Santiago, followed by a two-hour private plane flight that lands on a patch of dirt. It’s then another three-hour boat ride to the farm where there are no industrial buildings or homes.

Verlasso Salmon Farming Nets

Verlasso raises their own fish in a 30 meter-by-30 meter pen that is 15 meters deep. They have about half of the worldwide regulation density in their pen and fallow the pens for three to six months after harvest. This allows the water to rejuvenate completely before the next farming cycle begins.

Verlasso also differentiates itself from other salmon farmers through its use of nets. Since the nets are in the ocean, things like seaweed grow on them, which reduces water flow, which reduces oxygen available to the fish. To avoid this net fouling, nets are traditionally treated with copper-based paint, which stops the fouling, but also releases copper into the environment. Verlasso instead uses robots to clean the nets on a daily basis.

How Does Verlasso Practice Sustainability?
The omega-3s found in salmon come from their diet, specifically from the fish oil found in feeder fish like sardines and anchovies. The single most important problem facing salmon aquaculture today is the amount of feeder fish needed to sustain a healthy diet. Conventionally farmed salmon require three pounds of feeder fish for 1 pound of salmon. That’s just not sustainable, so Verlasso changed it.

They feed their salmon a diet consisting of natural algae with no whole wild feeder fish. A sustainable trim, sourced from certified feeder fish processing is the only source of fish in the Verlasso diet. They receive their omega-3’s from algae and the trim inclusion, which results in less than one pound of trim to produce one pound of salmon – a groundbreaking first for the industry. For color, Verlasso uses only natural colorant sourced from the microorganisms found in aquatic environments and at the start of the food chain.

What Does it Mean for Verlasso Salmon to be  “Harmoniously Raised?”
Verlasso has developed a comprehensive solution to many of aquaculture’s historic challenges. Verlasso’s breakthrough farming practices foster the health of the salmon, reduce depletion of precious ocean resources and protect the ecosystems where the salmon are raised.

Balancing all of these needs means Verlasso raises their fish in harmony with the environment. Verlasso’s “Harmoniously Raised” difference results in a beautiful and tasty fish with a shimmery quality, full fins, dark gills and bright eyes. The care they take means that consumers enjoy an optimum quality fish from an optimum quality environment.

What are the Benefits of Eating Verlasso Salmon?
We can all benefit from eating more salmon in general. Verlasso raises their fish with a diet optimized for health, not for cost. Their large pens give the fish more room to swim and as a result, Verlasso salmon has a fat content of about 11%. Conventionally farmed salmon, on the other hand, has a fat content of about 18%. Wild salmon has a fat content of about 8%. So, with Verlasso, you get a lean fish that is similar to wild.

Verlasso Salmon Fillet

What is an Easy and Delicious Way to Prepare Verlasso Salmon?
Chop up any veggies you have on hand and lay them out on a sheet of parchment paper. Place the salmon on top and season with salt and pepper. Add a few slices of citrus, wrap the parchment into a packet and cook for 15 minutes. Cooking salmon is easier than you think!

Why Should Someone Choose Verlasso Salmon?
People buy Verlasso because their food philosophy aligns to their commitment to sustainability. They buy it again because of the great taste!

Heinen's logo in black
By Heinen's Grocery Store
In 1929, Joe Heinen opened the doors of a small butcher shop on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, aiming to establish himself as the city’s purveyor of quality meats. As customers came into Heinen’s new shop for their meat purchases, they began asking him to carry groceries as well. Joe added homemade peanut butter, pickles and donuts and by 1933, business had grown enough to include a line of produce and canned goods. Heinen’s Grocery Store was born.

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