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Copper River Salmon Season 2013 in the Pacific Northwest

There are 26 Haggen and Top Food stores located in western Washington, with headquarters in the Bellingham, WA area. The chain has started the count down for the coveted Copper River Salmon Season 2013 to begin. Haggen and Top Food Stores offer the freshest, exceptional quality and variety of Pacific Salmon from Mid-May through October. The past 15 years, the grocery chain has partnered with Ocean Beauty Seafoods, based in Seattle.

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Our seafood buyers expertise, experience and commitment to source local, sustainable products have also developed a relationship with the Alaskan fisheries.  “There is no better place on Earth to buy fresh Pacific salmon than at Haggen!” said Amber Thunder Eagle, seafood buyer at Haggen. “We personally know many of the fishermen that pull these prized fish from pristine Alaskan waters. These deep relationships guarantee that we can offer our customers the best seafood in the Northwest.”  Amber recently visited Cordova and is sharing part of her journey with us on the video below.

The Copper River Fishery is based in Cordova, Alaska – a small fishing town, just off of the Copper River.  The season starts in Mid-May with Chinook (King) salmon and ends in September with Sockeye salmon, and winds down with Coho salmon.

Did you know that the Copper River is nearly 300 miles long, flows powerfully from glaciers high in the Chugach and St. Elias-Wrangell Mountains?  This massive body of water has 13 major tributaries, is a mile wide and runs at 7 miles per hour. Dropping an average of 12 feet per mile and draining 24,000 square miles, it is the 10th largest river in the United States. The copper deposits found along the river give it it’s name Copper River.

What makes the Copper River salmon so delectably delicious? When the salmon swim upstream to the spawning grounds, it requires tremendous exertion up an extremely intense river system. The salmon stop eating once they re-enter the chilly, fresh water. The salmon have to rely on huge reserves of Omega-3 fatty acids to fuel their efforts. The high amounts of the Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the layer between the skin and underside of the filet.  This is what gives the salmon the natural, extra buttery flavor and are what makes the Copper River Salmon the most prized and flavorful salmon in the world.  Omega-3 are great for improving heart health, autoimmune disorders and reducing inflammation.

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The Haggen and Top Foods stores are so excited they have a

 “Enter the Salmon Pool Contest”

Haggen has invited customers to guess the weight of the first salmon to arrive in a Haggen store this year. Customers can enter the Salmon Pool contest at any Haggen or Top Food store from now through May 16. 

The customer that guesses the exact weight of the first salmon delivered will receive 3 pounds of fresh Copper River salmon filets, plus a $25 Haggen or TOP Food gift certificate to complete their salmon dinner.

New starting this June, Kulshan Salmon – the next large run from the waters of Kodiak Island. The Sockeye from this run will be delivered to Haggen through the Ocean Beauty partnership.  Haggen works directly with Kodiak fisherman like Captain Robert “Roddy” McDonnell, a Bellingham native who has been fishing for more than 40 years. McDonnell captains the Kulshan, named after Mt. Baker, and recruits students from Western Washington University to help crew the vessel.

When Ocean Beauty fishermen like Capt. Roddy and his crew catch the Sockeye, the fish go straight into a fish hold full of refrigerated seawater. Tenders pick up the catch and deliver it to the Ocean Beauty Cannery in Alitak, Alaska. From there, the fish are promptly delivered to the distribution center in Seattle, and then to Haggen.

Amber Thunder Eagle adds, “Ocean Beauty helps fishermen like Captain Roddy stay productive and make sure the fish gets back to the plant quickly. Today, the level of quality and care in handling the fish is amazing. Ocean Beauty still uses respected old-fashioned techniques while also using state-of-the-art equipment to streamline the process.”

McDonnell said, “It makes me feel good that when I go to Haggen and see that a shopper could have conceivably gotten a fish from my boat—that this lucky person will get my salmon on their dinner table. It’s all about being local.”

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Stay uto date on the latest news about the first catch of Copper River Salmon Season 2013 to arrive at Haggen and Top Foods click here. You can also find recipes and more information about the stores on this link.

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I wanted to extend a special thank you to Haggen and Top Foods for sharing their story with me about their passion to provide the healthiest and freshest salmon to us here in the Pacific Northwest.

I can’t wait for my first Copper River Salmon Season 2013 bite!

I’m guessing 56.8 pounds this year!