Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

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TheOscarGuy
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Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:46 am

Hi all,

I am trying to find a good source for wild alaskan salmon year-round. We live in Boston and have access to most grocery stores. But I am worried that what's available in these stores is thawed fish not fresh, which means it must be consumed immediately (or quickly) and can not be refrozen. If my choices are thawed fish that has to be eaten quickly vs fresh but frozen immediately, I would prefer the latter.

I have found a few sources online from earlier thread on this topic on BH. It comes out to be around $23-26 per lbs. and you have to buy atleast 9-10lbs. That is a lot of fish! I could get it, but the cost is also on higher end of what I would consider paying. Are there other options folks have tried? I eat Salmon 4-5 times a week, but don't have space to store too much -- maybe 5-6 lbs. in freezer. Here is what I have done so far:

1. Buy it from BJs. Their "wellesley farms" brand, frozen 2lbs. bag. So far I ended up with mostly tail-end type fillets, and I was disappointed.
2. Buying from whole foods/other grocery stores nearby. To my knowledge, these are thawed which means I can not refreeze them.

I also tried getting farm-raised rainbow trout as well, but its same problem. ANy help/pointers would be much appreciated.

neilpilot
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by neilpilot » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:56 am

TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:46 am
But I am worried that what's available in these stores is thawed fish not fresh, which means it must be consumed immediately (or quickly) and can not be refrozen.
In my area, I use several supermarkets. In every case, the seafood counter marks the fish as either FRESH or PREVIOUSLY FROZEN. Don't your, or do you not trust their markings?

barnaclebob
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:03 am

Talk to the seafood person. They will probably sell you fish that hasn't been thawed yet but you might have to buy a whole fish and fillet it yourself. But that's a skill everyone should have because then you get to eat the collars and scrape the meat off the skeleton for patties.

Also fresh only means that it has never been frozen and does not say anything about age or how it has been handled. Fish that was handled properly and immediately frozen will be nearly indistinguishable from less than day old fresh fish.

You can refreeze fish and it will still taste great if it was still in good shape going into the freezer. It might lose a little more moisture but most people still probably couldn't tell the difference. Making sure its vacuum bagged when frozen in fillets for more than a couple weeks is important though.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:08 am

neilpilot wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:56 am
TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:46 am
But I am worried that what's available in these stores is thawed fish not fresh, which means it must be consumed immediately (or quickly) and can not be refrozen.
In my area, I use several supermarkets. In every case, the seafood counter marks the fish as either FRESH or PREVIOUSLY FROZEN. Don't your, or do you not trust their markings?
Its previously frozen, which means I have to eat it relatively soon. I am not sure how do they get fresh, wild alaskan salmon without freezing it all the way to Boston.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:10 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:03 am
Talk to the seafood person. They will probably sell you fish that hasn't been thawed yet but you might have to buy a whole fish and fillet it yourself. But that's a skill everyone should have because then you get to eat the collars and scrape the meat off the skeleton for patties.

Also fresh only means that it has never been frozen and does not say anything about age or how it has been handled. Fish that was handled properly and immediately frozen will be nearly indistinguishable from less than day old fresh fish.
That's a good idea -- I might talk to the seafood person at the grocery store next time I go there. I have no clue how I will cut a frozen fish into fillets, but maybe I can talk him into doing that for me so I have nice portions frozen that I can thaw when needed.

I just didn't know that was an option :) I assumed what they have on counter/fish section is what they can sell.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:11 am

TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:10 am
That's a good idea -- I might talk to the seafood person at the grocery store next time I go there. I have no clue how I will cut a frozen fish into fillets, but maybe I can talk him into doing that for me so I have nice portions frozen that I can thaw when needed.

I just didn't know that was an option :) I assumed what they have on counter/fish section is what they can sell.
You can't fillet it when frozen but you might be able to have it cut into steaks while frozen. If you really want fillets then have them make the steaks about twice as wide as normal. Then you can trim each of those large steaks into two fillets once it thaws as needed. Full disclosure: I fillet my own fish but haven't ever tried turning a steak into a fillet so I can't say for certain that this will work but its worth a shot.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

ThriftyPhD
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by ThriftyPhD » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:16 am

My understanding is that most fish is frozen on the boat, especially those that are out for multiple days. I'm guessing this is even more likely for wild alaskan salmon shipped to the East Coast. Frozen fish can be shipped more economically using slower methods (boat, truck) that can also maintain a better environment to keep your fish at the proper temperature. So most of what you see as 'fresh' in the store is simply thawed. I only buy frozen now.

A few things to consider.
  • Check the freezer section of whole foods/other grocery stores nearby. There might be frozen bags like at BJs, but of a different type that you might like.
  • Talk to the store manager or seafood section manager and see if they can sell you the fish before they thaw it, or if they can special order something for you. It sounds like you're eating a lot of salmon, so for a regular order they might be willing to work with you.
  • Talk to some local restaurants to see where they order from. Like the previous suggestion, they might be willing to order a few extra with their normal order and sell them to you. Helps if you're a regular customer.
  • Start on the supplier side. Look up Alaskan fisheries, and see if they have suggested methods for getting their fish.
    Don't discount local fish. The US waters produce a lot of fish that are quite tasty and healthy, but most of the market wants cod, tuna, or salmon so these local fish are often discarded or shipped to Europe/Asia where they are consumed. They can often be purchased much cheaper. Look up local fishermen or see if you have a CSF (Community Supported Fishery). Get to know your local fishermen or fishmongers, develop and maintain that relationship and you could end up with much higher quality fish than you'll find at the grocer. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... sh/265150/

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am

You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones

neilpilot
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by neilpilot » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:22 am

Don't know about Boston, but here in Memphis a large quantity of fresh fish (along with fresh flowers and other commodities) move through their hub. Maybe it's a Memphis thing. Also, I've confirmed on a couple of occasions that the fish marked FRESH was not, in fact, thawed.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:22 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
Atlantic and pacific salmon have the same bone structure. It appears that Atlantic salmon may be more commonly sold with the bones pulled already. You can remove the pin bones with a tweezer prior to cooking in either species. If the fish guy isn't busy or is higher end they will probably do it for you though.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by The Wizard » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:39 am

Just go to Market Basket stores in the Boston area. And expand your seafood repertoire if at all possible. They infrequently have Northwest salmon.
Last week I had a nice bluefish.
This week Norwegian salmon and cod are on sale at a good price.
They are good with identifying whether fresh or previously frozen...
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:41 am

I live in the Washington D.C. area and buy frozen Wild Alaskan salmon at Costco.

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TheOscarGuy
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:58 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
I am not aware of a source for wild atlantic salmon.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:19 am

TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:58 am
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
I am not aware of a source for wild atlantic salmon.
I was curious if it was due to taste that you preferred Alaskan over North Atlantic. Although Atlantic Salmon isn't as prevalent my local market often has it. I do also see sources online via google - one example:
https://www.mainelobsternow.com/fresh-f ... MPEALw_wcB

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by Rupert » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:25 am

TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:58 am
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
I am not aware of a source for wild atlantic salmon.
Atlantic salmon is an endangered species and can't be fished hardly anywhere. So you won't find any wild Atlantic salmon in stores, as selling it is illegal. Almost all farm-raised salmon is, however, Atlantic salmon. Rule of thumb: If it's wild, it's not Atlantic. If it's Atlantic, it's not wild.

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lthenderson
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:45 am

Here in Iowa, our regional grocery store chain flies in their week's supply (from Alaska) every Monday and it is distributed to our store on Tuesday. I buy my fish on Tuesday.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:49 am

Rupert wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:25 am
TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:58 am
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
I am not aware of a source for wild atlantic salmon.
Atlantic salmon is an endangered species and can't be fished hardly anywhere. So you won't find any wild Atlantic salmon in stores, as selling it is illegal. Almost all farm-raised salmon is, however, Atlantic salmon. Rule of thumb: If it's wild, it's not Atlantic. If it's Atlantic, it's not wild.
So is the below seller false advertising or illegally fishing?
https://www.mainelobsternow.com/fresh-f ... MPEALw_wcB

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by Rupert » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:54 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:49 am
Rupert wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:25 am
TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:58 am
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
I am not aware of a source for wild atlantic salmon.
Atlantic salmon is an endangered species and can't be fished hardly anywhere. So you won't find any wild Atlantic salmon in stores, as selling it is illegal. Almost all farm-raised salmon is, however, Atlantic salmon. Rule of thumb: If it's wild, it's not Atlantic. If it's Atlantic, it's not wild.
So is the below seller false advertising or illegally fishing?
https://www.mainelobsternow.com/fresh-f ... MPEALw_wcB
Likely false advertising. Fraudulently mislabeling fish is unfortunately very common. The feds have been cracking down in my neck of the woods -- doing DNA testing on fish and finding Vietnamese catfish sold as grouper, etc. Edited to add this link to an article about the mislabeling: http://time.com/4089958/wild-salmon-fish-fraud/

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by Rupert » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:01 pm

Just fyi for everyone, especially OP:

Here's a link to the NOAA advisory on wild Atlantic salmon: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.n ... atlsalmon/

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:18 pm

Is there a local fishmonger or a local grocery store with a good seafood section? They might be very cooperative in providing still-frozen salmon from their supplier and even let you order items they don't normally carry, especially if you put in a standing order or at least buy frequently. Same is true for meats and really anything that they can get from their wholesalers.
neilpilot wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:22 am
Don't know about Boston, but here in Memphis a large quantity of fresh fish (along with fresh flowers and other commodities) move through their hub. Maybe it's a Memphis thing.
It is a Memphis thing.

https://www.google.com/search?q=fedex+memphis&tbm=isch

Those can be hundreds of FedEx jets on the ground at the Memphis airport as it is FedEx's primary hub.

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aaronb
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by aaronb » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:32 pm

Have you checked Wegmans? I know they have a pretty decent variety of salmon options, though I can't say for sure if they have what you're looking for (I was looking for less expensive options last times I browsed their fish selection).

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by Nestegg_User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:34 pm

You can always move out here to the PNW and get your salmon :)

(...and fresh Dungeness crab, too)
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by boffalora » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:34 pm

A couple of comments:

If you have a Kroger store (or one of their affiliate brands), consider their bags of frozen Wild Caught Pink Salmon filets, individually cryovac'd. As best I've been able to discern, these are Alaskan salmon flown to a processing plant in China, which cleans, filets and packs them for distribution in the US. The filets are clean, skinless and boneless. I've compared them to the "crunchy brands" sold in health food stores and the Kroger variety are far superior.

At your fresh seafood counter, consider wild-caught Steelhead Trout filets instead. They are a "meater" salmon variety with a cleaner taste and if properly fileted, few if any bones.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:10 pm

Rupert wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:25 am
TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:58 am
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
I am not aware of a source for wild atlantic salmon.
Atlantic salmon is an endangered species and can't be fished hardly anywhere. So you won't find any wild Atlantic salmon in stores, as selling it is illegal. Almost all farm-raised salmon is, however, Atlantic salmon. Rule of thumb: If it's wild, it's not Atlantic. If it's Atlantic, it's not wild.
I knew it is illegal but did not want to say it :)

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:11 pm

boffalora wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:34 pm
A couple of comments:

If you have a Kroger store (or one of their affiliate brands), consider their bags of frozen Wild Caught Pink Salmon filets, individually cryovac'd. As best I've been able to discern, these are Alaskan salmon flown to a processing plant in China, which cleans, filets and packs them for distribution in the US. The filets are clean, skinless and boneless. I've compared them to the "crunchy brands" sold in health food stores and the Kroger variety are far superior.

At your fresh seafood counter, consider wild-caught Steelhead Trout filets instead. They are a "meater" salmon variety with a cleaner taste and if properly fileted, few if any bones.
No Kroger store nearby. But I am going to take up recommendation as I mentioned of talking to my grocery store and asking them if they can sell me stuff before thawing!

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by scotthew » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:12 pm

FYI - Atlantic Salmon is endangered (nearly extinct), and to my knowledge Wild Atlantic Salmon is not all distributed at all as seafood anywhere.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:13 pm

boffalora wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:34 pm
At your fresh seafood counter, consider wild-caught Steelhead Trout filets instead. They are a "meater" salmon variety with a cleaner taste and if properly fileted, few if any bones.
Almost all steelhead and trout sold in stores is farmed. Wild steelhead populations are not doing well these days. If you see wild steelhead sold in a store its either mislabeled or you need to ask a whole lot of questions. Its possible a small amount of steelhead is caught by the tribes and sold commercially but I bet restaurants jump on it first.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by CWhea1775 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:38 pm

Salmon run seasonally so they are not available fresh even in the Pacific Northwest at certain times of year. Here are two links that cover types and seasonal availability fairly well;

http://www.seattletimes.com/life/food-d ... on-season/

http://wildsalmonseafood.com/content/00 ... 0Sheet.pdf

Sale of wild steelhead is generally prohibited, but as posted above there are legally sold tribal steelhead available from the Columbia and coastal Washington - not sure about BC. Wild caught winter steelhead, if you could find them, would be around in December-March when other fresh salmon are scarce.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by General Disarray » Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:20 pm

I'm in the Boston area and last week I bought wild sockeye salmon at Costco (in the refrigerated section, not freezer). Whenever I buy salmon at Costco, I buy the thawed salmon in the refrigerated section, then either freeze the whole thing or else cut the salmon into individual portions and freeze. I can then take take out and cook small(er) portions when I want.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by goingup » Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:28 pm

CWhea1775 wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:38 pm
Salmon run seasonally so they are not available fresh even in the Pacific Northwest at certain times of year. Here are two links that cover types and seasonal availability fairly well;

http://www.seattletimes.com/life/food-d ... on-season/

http://wildsalmonseafood.com/content/00 ... 0Sheet.pdf

Sale of wild steelhead is generally prohibited, but as posted above there are legally sold tribal steelhead available from the Columbia and coastal Washington - not sure about BC. Wild caught winter steelhead, if you could find them, would be around in December-March when other fresh salmon are scarce.
Thanks for that info! The Wild Pacific Salmon guide was especially good. I'm a 10-year Seattleite now and eat fresh salmon from June-September. You certainly can eat it at other times of the year, but it will likely be frozen-thawed and just not as good.

OP- I'd suggest you try the flash-frozen salmon from Trader Joes (Aldi?) or Costco. The usual chain grocery stores do a very poor job with fish, IMO. Frankly, I consider it a losing proposition for a North Easterner to find fresh wild salmon year-round. You'd do better to find out what fish is caught in your area and eat it seasonly, and to buy quality flash-frozen fish.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by jrtexas » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:09 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
But what are the farmed fish being fed?

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by The Wizard » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:10 pm

jrtexas wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:09 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
But what are the farmed fish being fed?
Nutritional fish pellets, I believe...
Attempted new signature...

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:15 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:10 pm
jrtexas wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:09 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am
You live in the Northeast and you want wild ALASKAN salmon verses Wild Atlantic Salmon?
Curious as to why?

Personally - I prefer farmed Salmon - don't have the problems with bones
But what are the farmed fish being fed?
Nutritional fish pellets, I believe...
Correct - not sure if there was a concern with this question. In addition to my salmon, my chicken, pork, and beef are all farmed as well :)

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:32 pm

I also recommend wild Alaskan salmon from Costco. In our area we can buy fresh in the refrigerated area during the summer and frozen Sockeye salmon fillets from the frozen area all year. We usually choose the frozen even in summer - it's excellent and the fillets are a nice size.
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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by chw » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:34 pm

I live in the Boston area and buy wild Alaskan salmon burgers and filets at Costco. Both are tasty and reasonably priced.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by integrity » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:01 pm

Based on this thread it sounds like I can find many of my fellow Bostonian Bogleheads in the fish section at Costco...I'll have to keep that in mind next time i go! :D

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by srj » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:58 pm

Whole Foods, at least the location by Alewife, has Alaskan Salmon. There's also a specialty seafood store in Cambridge called "The Fishmonger" that you could try calling to see if they have what you want.

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Re: Buying fish (salmon) in Northeast?

Post by Swansea » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:27 am

Trident salmon burgers are from Alaskan salmon, while they are frozen, they are tasty. Safeway carries them in the DC area.

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