Cooke IDs subtle seasonal salmon trend

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At first, the reply to Salmon Business’ query on Christmas volumes seemed all too opaque — some would say cryptic.

“In the ramp-up for Christmas, the demand is high for Scottish salmon in Europe as well as North America,” wrote Marie McAleese of Cooke Aquaculture in Scotland. “Many processors and retailers have developed (a) specific range of products,” she wrote, leaving room for interpretation that we took advantage of.

New treat: Trader Joe’s King Salmon Jerky

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean, a retailer had the explanation for McAleese’s remarks. New Brunswick’s Ovenhead Salmon Smokers’ range of products includes smoked Atlantic salmon packages, slices, pate and … jerky.

Jerky — normally associated with beef jerky — is a preserved meat snack once favored by cowboys and sailors. Now camping enthusiasts or anyone with an immediate hunger for something meaty can grab a few sticks of satisfaction at a variety store or by the pound from Joseph and Debbie Thorne, owners of Ovenhead Salmonsmokers on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay.

This smoker’s raw materials are Cooke’s Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon. Ovenhead’s salmon jerky offers some explanation of McAleese’s unspoken respect for Cooke customers’ “specific range” of new salmon products. Joseph and Debbie’s cold-smoked process uses maple chips that give smoked salmon a delicate flavor — and it sells at CAD27.50 a pound.

Ovenhead is one of two smokers in Atlantic Canada that ship to Europe. The other appears to be a Cooke associate True North Salmon Company, which is understood to also own a processing plant for instant farmed-salmon supply.

In all, just four regional smokers are listed as exporters to Asia, Canada, the Caribbean, South America and the United States. Apart from Ovenhead and True North,

Atlantic Salmon innovators: Joseph and Debbie Thorne, owners of Ovenhead Salmon Smokers, makers of salmon jerky PHOTO: www.ovenheadsmokers.com

Wolfhead Smokers in New Brunswick and Grizzly of Quebec are known exporters to the U.S. via Eastern Canada.

Grizzly, which just developed a new, natural preservative for salmon, also produces a new non-smoked salmon tatar and first-of-kind “plain Atlantic salmon” cubes.

So, McAleese is right — the list has of salmon products has grown in 2017, and just in time for smoked salmon high-season.