Saturday, November 15, 2014

New at Costco Wholesale: Farmed salmon that costs more than wild

At $12.99 a pound, this artificially colored farmed Atlantic salmon costs more than the fresh wild sockeye salmon I bought at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack in September, when fillets from Canada were only $8.99 a pound.


Verlasso is an "ocean-raised farmed salmon" that comes all the way from Chile.

I noticed it on Friday at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack, where it was being sold for $12.99 a pound next to other farmed Atlantic salmon for $7.99 a pound.

A handout says Verlasso is the first ocean-raised farm salmon to receive a "Good Alternative" buy rating from Seafood Watch, the Monterey Bay Aquarium program  that rates seafood sustainability.

On each shrink-wrapped package of the skinless-and-boneless fillets, an oval sticker declares Verlasso is "Salmon Raised in Harmony with Nature."

That's a clever marketing phrase, but you'd think only wild salmon could make the claim.

Verlasso says it uses a "proprietary yeast feed" that is genetically modified.

The feed is packed with omega-3 fatty acids "that provide health benefits to salmon and to us."

I bought wild salmon almost every week at Costco from late May until late September for $8.99 a pound to $14.99 a pound.

Now, I am buying fresh wild-caught cod, haddock and flounder fillets for $7.99 a pound to $8.99 a pound; wild-caught salmon burgers and crab cakes.

Thanks, Verlasso, but I'll stick to wild seafood.

A new item at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack is Chunk Light Skipjack Tuna in Water. A dozen 7-ounce cans were $15.49. The tuna, from Thailand, carries a Kirkland Signature label.

Another new fish at Costco

Another new item is what Costco is calling "a more responsibly caught premium tuna" -- Skipjack Tuna in Water from Thailand.

Only one species is used, and the skipjack are "free school caught," using a large net called a "purse seine."

The Kirkland Signature packaging doesn't mention mercury, but the Natural Resources Defense Council lists skipjack tuna as containing "moderate" mercury.

But the group claims skipjack are one of the "fish in trouble!" 

Today, I made a skipjack tuna salad with chopped scallions and honey crisp apple dressed in Dijon mustard, a little mayo, fresh lime juice, curry powder and ground cumin.

I added extra-virgin olive oil for moisture.

I've been buying Genova-brand canned yellow fin tuna from Costco for a few years, but that tuna is listed as being "high" in mercury.

I picked up more Kirkland Signature Roasted Seasoned Seaweed ($7.89 for 10 0.6-ounce packages). The addictive sheets can be used for snacking or to wrap tuna salad, organic brown rice with pomegranate seeds and other food. The packages are larger and the sheets have less sodium than brands sold at Korean supermarkets.

At Costco Wholesale in Hackensack on Friday, the low-quality rotisserie chickens were in high demand.

I scattered pomegranate seeds over reheated organic brown rice with organic diced tomatoes, low-sodium black beans, peeled whole garlic cloves and saffron, above, and over an Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix Salad with hothouse cucumbers and tomatoes, below. The rice was prepared in an electric cooker with two cups of organic chicken stock for every cup of rice, plus sea salt and a couple of ounces of extra-virgin olive oil.

Three large Pom-brand pomegranates from California yielded 6 cups of seeds. Six pomegranates were $14.99 at Costco on Friday.

I stuffed an omelet made from Kirkland Signature Egg Whites and whole Organic Eggs with slices of smoked wild salmon and reduced-fat sliced Swiss cheese, both from Costco, and za'atar thyme mixture. A side dish of organic pasta shells with sardines stood in for bread at breakfast.


  1. Well of course farmed salmon is going to cost more than wild caught salmon. First the farmers need to buy all that fertilizer to dump in the water, then they have to hire migrant labor and buy fishing rods so the laborers can catch the darn things, and have you seen the price of worms lately? And don't forget, since the farms are mostly in China and Thailand, there are no Congressional mega farm subsidies, and then the farmers have to load the salmon in shipping containers and hope that no Somali pirates hijack them en route to the Port of Los Angeles, after which the consumer picks up the cost of trucking them to New Jersey. Wild caught salmon, on the other hand, all you have to do is promise a grizzly bear you'll take the cover off your neighbor's garbage cans at night and the bear will be so grateful he'll go down to the river and grab you a few salmon, how much does it cost to remove a garbage can lid? Heck, that wild caught salmon should be cheaper than mackerel, and I'll bet Costco is charging north of ten bucks a pound for it. On the other hand, there's so much mercury in that wild caught salmon that it can take your temperature while you eat.


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