Do you know what today is?! Today is a pretty special day. Maybe not here in Chicago. Maybe not in New York City or even Los Angeles. But for my wonderful friends in Cordova, Alaska, today marks the opening day of Copper River Salmon season! What does that mean for everyone else? That means the first Copper River Salmon of the season will be available by the weekend at restaurants around the country and perhaps even in your local supermarket or fish monger. For this season, I’ll be keeping a running tab of local restaurants and retail markets in which Copper River Salmon will be available here in Chicagoland. Other fellow food bloggers around the country are joining me in the efforts and you can check out the sites of the ‘Fresh Catch Crew 2012‘ in cities like San Francisco, Washington DC, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Seattle, Austin, Portland, Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Boston, and Salt Lake City.
I was fortunate enough to fly out to Cordova, Alaska last year to meet the fishermen and fisherwomen behind this wonderful fish. The town itself was gorgeous and everyone I met was nothing short of warm and welcoming. Over the next few months during this year’s Copper River Salmon season, I’ll be sharing my experience in Alaska in hopes others can learn more about where this delicious fish comes from and to appreciate those folks who work hard to provide this fish from the water to plate.
So where is this Copper River?…
The Copper River derives its name from the rich copper deposits found along the riverbank. First used by the Alaska Native population, and later by settlers of the Russian Empire and the United States, 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.
It is up this intense river system that the salmon must travel 300 miles to reach their spawning grounds, which requires extra stores of omega-3 fatty acids that make Copper River salmon some of the most prized salmon in the world.
Personally, I’m super excited about this season. Having had the opportunity to work with the folks of Copper River Salmon gave me such a deep appreciation and respect for all the efforts involved in having this fish available here in Chicago. Stay tuned to my future posts dedicated to Copper River Salmon as we embark on this year’s season and some delicious salmon recipes along the way…
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