Made in partnership with Kvarøy Arctic
The coastline’s expansive stretch along Norway carries with it a raw beauty, where islands jut out from the waters and steep mountains tower above. From the shores, the distance appears to fade into a forever that can draw one into a tranquil trance. Storms break the skies open and the waves crash with a fury, while clear and sunny days usher in a calming silence and peace. Together, these powerful forces complement the life that take root there.
Though, what is so visible to the eye from the shore is only part of the story. Beneath the cold, pristine waters lapping back and forth, a world of vibrant marine life can be found. A world of sustenance and importance. A world each one of us can experience and taste in our very own homes, however far from the Norwegian shores we may be. And this is in part thanks to the those who hold the waters in such high esteem – protecting, gathering and sharing to ensure a sustainable food system now and for the generations to come.
Settled along the craggy Northern coast of Helgeland, stretching from Trøndelag in the south to Salten in the north, is the island of Indre Kvarøy. Here, right at the Arctic Circle, around 80 inhabitants call this island home.
The name, Kvarøy, comes from the old Norse words brem or kant, meaning brim or edge. The earliest known inhabitants date back to the 1600s with two farms in operation. It was in the 1860s that the island became a port and from 1893 the famous cruise ship, Hurtigruten, would make a regular stop there. This influx of visitors enabled the island to develop and build a hotel with a bakery, soda factory, café and marketplace. Today, the island is very much thriving, but in a different way.
One of the families living there now run and operate Kvarøy Arctic, a third-generation family business of fish farming and one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Norway today. It was Alf Olsen, a fish farming pioneer in northern Norway, who started the company with his son, Geir in 1976. Today, the business is run by Geir’s sons, Gjermund and Håvard, and his son-in-law, Alf-Gøran, who took over in 2008. They continue developing the business as it was first envisioned: to offer salmon of very high quality without compromising the environment or the welfare of the fish.
The family operations extend to the community, of course, where friends and neighbors make up part of their team. This close-knit community brings a greater responsibility to Kvarøy Arctic, supporting the larger vision of evolving open water salmon farming into a sustainable practice that supports the environment, the welfare of the salmon, and providing a healthy source of protein for a growing world. The support of the greater whole ensures a more sustainable future and economic resource for the generations to come.
The Norwegian concept of dugnad (volunteering and supporting the community) is deeply rooted and practiced here and within the larger Kvarøy Arctic team based outside of Norway. This is due to the way they view their role among the community and the philosophy by which the company operates. In fact, the company does not own the sea where they have their operations, but rent it with the responsibility to leave the area in the same condition as when they started. It’s this mindset of maintaining the environment we occupy, so the community and future generations can continue to use and enjoy it later on that is so important to the premise of dugnad.
What makes Kvarøy Arctic stand out among the rest is the family’s philosophy of pride – from the quality of the salmon and commitment to caring for the environment to transparency and working to innovate. They recognize the duty of care and responsibility they have for the waters to ensure they don’t contribute to its vulnerabilities, such as pollution. Their work ethic and love for the waters has resulted in Kvarøy Arctic redefining the industry and being the leader in aquaculture sustainability.
Continuing to grow and expand has meant more opportunities for the island and its inhabitants. Many traditional rural areas in Norway find it difficult to maintain their population as more people head into the cities for job opportunities. Small communities slowly fade leaving a story and heritage behind. This why companies like Kvarøy Arctic are so vital to maintaining a vibrant rural Norway, ensuring that the history and culture of these places are maintained.
The waters around the island are a salmon paradise. The deep fjords circulate with currents as a result from the convergence of the cold Arctic waters and the mild Gulf Stream, providing an incredible environment where the salmon can thrive in a healthy and safe way. The company has a pen ratio of 2% salmon to 98% water, meaning the fish have plenty of room to swim and grow.
They also use blockchain technology to create an unchangeable digital record of the salmon’s journey from the company’s aquaculture farm all the way to market, so you can be sure there is 100% transparency and trust in their supply chain. The technology tracks such a level of detail that it also reduces food waste, enabling Kvarøy Arctic to feed more people in the world. And with our current food system, we will need safety nets set up like this to ensure our planet is well fed in the future.
Kvarøy Arctic is certified by the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) and was the first farmed salmon company to receive certification for the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Program. They were also the first farmed salmon to be certified with Whole Foods in 2008. And the certifications and acclamations continue to come as they strive to offer salmon of the best quality without compromising the environment or the welfare of the fish.
The taste of the salmon is incredible. It’s tender and semi-firm with a succulent and buttery, marine flavor and flaky texture. The beautiful orange hue of its flesh is due to its natural diet. In fact, Kvarøy Arctic salmon has double the omega-3 content of other farmed salmon because of the feed that they have helped to pioneer, which uses fermented microalgae as a sustainable source of omega-3s. Just one serving (3.5 ounces/ 100 grams) of their salmon provides over 2,000mg of omega-3s, well over the recommended goal for a weekly intake. So, not only is every meal going to be delicious, it’s also going to be nutritious and beneficial to our health and well-being.
I’m so excited to be partnering with Kvarøy Arctic; sharing recipes and tips that will connect you to Norway. Their salmon is delectable, and they prioritize the stewardship of the waters – leaving them in the same condition (or better) as they were when they first started farming. Their philosophy and outlook on the future of our food system is imperative and commendable. Having the protection and sustainability of our landscape at the forefront of our minds ensures a better future ahead. It also means that we can eat with assurance and enjoy every luscious bite of salmon that has come straight from the cold and crisp waters of Norway.
For more information about Kvarøy Arctic, visit: https://www.kvaroyarctic.com/
To find Kvarøy Arctic salmon near you, check here: https://www.kvaroyarctic.com/find