Since when has alaskan salmon been awaited as eagerly in seattle as the first french beaujolais wine arriving into new york? Actually, about 30 years.
This season marks the 30th anniversary of the copper river salmon phenomenon, when fresh copper river kings (and now sockeye) were brought to market in a media glare.
Jon rowley is a restaurant and fish consultant in seattle. He writes "we brought the first fresh copper river kings to market in 1983, 30 years ago. At that time most fish was going into cans, some was frozen. None was coming down fresh. The handling wasn't pretty."
" i worked tommy johnson and a few other fishermen, as an experiment. We thought they could get a better price for their fish. The key was to get the handling and temperature control right. We brought down a trial shipment of 400 lbs which went to rosellinis' other place, triples (restaurants unlimited))., mccormick's fish house and ray's boathouse, all in seattle."
" to get their attention, i told the restaurants, all clients at the time, they were going to be getting the best salmon in the world."
Customers could tell the difference right off the bat. Getting the fish to restaurant kitchens in the right condition (troll quality) was the first order of business. Then came some fun razzle-dazzle marketing with a "race' to get the first fish to market involving secret radio channels, a helicopter, a copper river king salmon and oregon pinot noir wedding in chicago, and so on.
From the beginning, the copper river fishery and its magnificent salmon were uniquely suited to media attention.
Today, copper river is well established as a premier marketing effort for salmon, which helps recognition for the entire state.
Beth poole, executive director of the copper river marketing association, writes "cordova is alive with energy and excitement for the first opener. I really appreciate pointing out the anniversary. Happy 30th anniversary!"
The first copper river salmon will be flown out this year on may 16th.