Food Farmer Earth Newsletter: Sustainable Seafood

Albacore Tuna: A Micro-Cannery Flourishes

In the 1970s, Oregon’s coastal fishing industry, consisting for the most part of small, family-owned boats, was being devastated by the rise of large foreign fleets competing for ever-decreasing stocks. Seeing the industry changing and the big canneries moving out or closing, Warrenton fisherman Norman Kujala adapted by building his own cannery on the banks of the Skipanon River in 1978.

The Skipanon Brand Seafood is now run by the second generation of the Kujala family, including Paul, who fishes for salmon on the family boat called the Cape Windy, and Mark, who runs the cannery and oversees the processing of salmon, sturgeon and albacore.

How to Can Sardines

Harriet Fasenfest, author of The Householder’s Guide to the Universe, and Marge Braker, a former Oregon Extension Home Economist, demonstrate how to safely can fresh sardines, including a basic primer on a pressure canner. In general, foods that are low in acidity require close attention to the temperature, pressure, and heating time instructions to avoid the potential of botulism poisoning. Here’s the link to the recipe How To Can Sardines

How to Fillet a Tuna

This is behind the scenes impromptu shooting of a veteran fish filleter, part of the team that cuts up and cleans the fresh-caught fish that arrive from the fishing boats. Cannery owner Mark Kujala describes the step-by-step process by which the albacore are cut up into fillets, as we watch Shirley Tischer fillet the fish in real-time action. Unbelievable how fast and sure she carves up that fish!

Are You Worried About Mercury Levels in Tuna?

We talk with Michael Morrissey Ph.D, formerly with the Oregon State University Seafood Lab in Astoria, Oregon, and the lead author of a 2005 study that examined mercury levels in West Coast albacore tuna. As we learn in the interview, the study also examined the relative levels of a number of long chain Omega 3 fatty acids that are present in tuna, and considered particularly important to the healthy growth of developing fetuses, and young children — the very same human populations that are most susceptible to the deleterious effects from mercury poisoning.

So is tuna safe to eat? Is there a certain variety that is safer to consume than others? Who will potentially benefit the most from eating albacore tuna in moderation? Should pregnant women and young children avoid eating tuna altogether? You may be surprised by the answers.

Next Week: Wheat

  • Tuesday
    Fresh Pear and Fig Galette
    Fresh Pear and figs are literally falling off the trees this time of year. – but what to do with them? Pastry chef Mary O’Rourke of The Waffle Window shows us how to make a rustic tart – also known as a galette. It’s simple. It’s sweet. And, it’s in season, now!
  • Wednesday
    Harvesting Wheat
    Imagine being a wheat farmer with roughly 1200 acres of wheat, and only a short window of time once the wheat is ready for harvest. We visit a fifth generation wheat farmer as he spends the last of his 12 hour days harvesting his soft white winter wheat.
  • Thursday
    Riding Combine
    People have been harvesting wheat for centuries but the technology has certainly changed over the years. Join us on a ride with wheat farmer David Brewer inside his John Deere 9750 combine, where he spends upwards of 12 hours a day during harvest time.

The Weekly Roundup

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