McFarland Springs Trout
Chefs can order McFarland Springs Trout by calling: 415-275-2292
McFarland Springs is the world’s first deliberate collaboration to responsibly farm sustainable fish. Most farmed fish are fed a diet that contains fishmeal; fish taken from the ocean, ground up, dried, and fed to farmed fish. This practice of removing fish that other marine life rely on as food and is not sustainable.
TwoXSea and American Trout in Lassen County partnered in 2009 to test and produce a farmed trout using a nearly pure vegetarian diet of red algae, organic corn, and soy. Originally the feed contained approximately 3% fish oil, which has been completely eliminated to create a farmed trout that is raised on a 100% vegetarian diet. The results we achieved are stunning, and the flavor is that of a wild trout. Not to mention that Omega 3 levels are higher than that of wild salmon.
“We realized, a bit too late, that the previous trout we were buying were neither vegetarian nor insectivore.” said Kenny Belov of TwoXSea. “Our choice to establish a renewable and responsible source of seafood was driven by the hope that it is still possible to farm seafood without destroying our oceans future. I’m happy to say it is possible.”
The trout farm where we grow McFarland Springs Trout is an environmental dream. The farm’s extremely cold water supply comes from the natural spring headwaters of the Susan River in Northern California. These pristine waters are free of the pesticides and contaminates often found in water sources. We also use the spring waters to generate hydroelectric power to supply all the electricity for the farm.
Raising our trout locally we are lowering our carbon footprint and further promoting regional cuisine. The fish are hand harvested and processed, instead of machine processed as is customary in most farming operations.
For culinary applications, the flavor and texture is that of wild trout, with a sweet flavor and lighter firm flesh. The extremely cold natural spring waters create slow growth rates, and produces a superior texture.
“This is a very rare and sadly, fairly limited operation. It isn’t something you can scale for a Fast Food Nation, but it is a great example of what we can do when we choose to put the environment above margins.” Belov commented. “I hope this is the first of many.”
Farming fish in a manner that does not deplete other resources is essential for humankind. The ocean remains the last remaining hunting ground of wild food and has been pushed beyond the edge of its capacity by overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution.
Much like farmed produce, poultry or beef, we must develop farmed fish as a source of protein in order to support growing demand. The key is to do so in a responsible fashion using renewable and sustainable resources. The current practice of dragging the ocean for baitfish to feed to fish farms is a dead end street. More importantly, clean farming technologies must be created for developing nations if we are to not depend on the oceans to feed populations.
“We are beginning to see emerging sciences that will allow us to grow insect and algae based diets for fish farming”, states Bill Foss of TwoXSea. “This type of diet couldn’t make a healthier trout. McFarland Springs Trout marks the movement of farming fish using organic farming techniques, where chemicals are not used and the feed source is a natural component of the diet of the species. Even better, species native to geographic regions can be raised; resulting in a new market for native heirloom trout.”
“California is home to 10 species of native trout, one of which – the California Bull Trout – is already extinct.” adds Belov. “The fact that we are able to offer the Rainbow Trout native to Eagle Lake in a safe and renewable fashion is fantastic. Much like the ocean, we have to manage the wild fisheries of inland lakes and streams to take the pressure off these species if we hope to see them survive.”
As with all TwoXSea products, chefs are encouraged to arrange for a tour of our farm, or any fishery, to gain a better understanding of the food source.