British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, located two hours from Vancouver by road or ferry, is home to a rich sustainability culture. While you’ll find myriad farm stands, local art galleries, farm-to-table restaurants and eco-friendly hotels, one truly interesting green experience is touring Target Marine Hatchery, their organic and self-sustaining sturgeon farm.
Caviar is not typically thought of as a moral food choice, especially as much of the sturgeon population from the Caspian Sea has been depleted; however, Target Marine has created a self-sustaining operation that doesn’t require fishing. From their first batch of white sturgeon from the nearby Fraser River, which were purchased from local farmers and the Vancouver Aquarium, they’ve been able to create a continuous cycle or reproduction from the spawn of the original batch.
While many caviar producers are using endangered fish to produce their product (many are even lying about it), Target Marine creates an ethical food source. Sturgeon are treated humanely, fed organic food and never given hormones or antibiotics to promote growth. The caviar itself is also organic, and is made with only salt and roe. Additionally, the product is Certified Ocean Wise, a certification handed out by the Vancouver Aquarium for sustainable, environmentally-friendly seafood.
Interestingly, Target Marine Hatchery is the only caviar producer in British Columbia. After enjoying a free tour of the hatchery, visitors can purchase a tin of caviar (starting at $88 for 30 grams) to be lead in a structured tasting. You’ll learn tips for how to properly taste caviar (Hint: Never use a metal spoon! Stick with mother of pearl spoons, tasteless foods like water crackers, palate cleaners like Champagne or vodka, or “naked” off your hand like salt with a tequila shot) and will get to experience the sensation of popping caviar with your tongue and letting the buttery, salty goodness take over your palate.