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Friday, June 8, 2018

Lovers of fresh, wild salmon from Alaska won't find any at Costco or most markets

Costco Wholesale in Teterboro usually gets beautiful fillets of fresh, wild sockeye salmon from Alaska in the first days of June. This year, those shipments have been delayed. Above, Kirkland Signature frozen Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, which is available year-round, but doesn't compare in any way to the fresh fish.

Editor's note: The 2019 wild salmon season at Costco was far better than the 2018 season described here, with fresh sockeye salmon fillets from the Copper River showing up in early June.


TETERBORO, N.J. -- Costco Wholesale's fresh seafood buyer says New Jersey members shouldn't expect to find any fresh, wild sockeye salmon until Father's Day weekend.

"It is rough," Lyle French said from Costco headquarters in Issaquah, Wash.

He noted the mouth of the famed Copper River, which supplies the first fillets of fresh, wild sockeye salmon sold in Costco warehouses on the East Coast, hasn't been open for fishing consistently.

On June 2, a newspaper is Kenai, Alaska, reported, "Several major river systems are seeing paltry returns [of Pacific salmon]."

"The poor numbers have led to closures and cutbacks to sport and commercial fisheries," according to the Peninsula Clarion.

In Alaska, the salmon-harvest season began on May 18.

Whole Foods Market

If you can't wait for fresh, wild salmon to arrive at Costco, head over to Whole Foods Market in Paramus, where you'll find the best seafood counter in North Jersey.

On Thursday afternoon, I saw a single fresh, wild Sockeye Salmon fillet ($39.99 a pound) and several pieces of fresh, wild King Salmon ($49.99 a pound), both from the Copper River.

The fishmonger explained the price is so high because it includes airfare that brings the wild salmon to the store the day after they are caught.

My trip wasn't a total loss: I picked up Organic Grapes for $2.49 a pound and Organic Fuji Apples for $1.99 a pound -- lower prices thanks to the Amazon takeover.

CONSOLATION PRIZE: At Costco on Thursday, I bought a fillet of fresh, wild Pacific Halibut ($17.99 a pound), which I prepared with organic spinach, pitted olives, Campari Tomatoes, capers, grated cheese, lemon juice and fresh herbs from my garden. See a how-to video on preparing another Fish & Vegetable Medley, below:

Teterboro Costco

On Thursday morning, the Costco warehouse in the Teterboro Landing shopping center off of Route 46 offered  artificially colored farmed Atlantic salmon raised with harmful antibiotics, some of it marked "kosher."

Other farmed salmon fillets from Norway were antibiotic-free, though still artificially colored. 

Instead, I purchased a fillet of fresh, wild-caught Pacific Halibut for dinner tonight ($17.99 a pound).

Last year, sockeye fillets from the Copper River arrived at the Teterboro Costco on June 5.

I grilled them on the stovetop, and served them with fresh herbs and a reduction of organic diced tomatoes.


BRAND NEW BAGS: Earthbound Farm has reverted to using plastic bags to package Organic Mixed Greens sold at Costco, but splits the pound of triple-washed salad between two 8-ounce bags ($4.79). The hard plastic clamshell, which  held 1 pound and replaced a single plastic bag a few years ago, took up a lot of space in the refrigerator. The old name was "Organic Spring Mix."
INSTANT SAVINGS: I took advantage of instant savings on Season-brand Sardines in Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Twelve cans were $9.49 or about 79 cents a can. Six Glide Dental Floss dispensers were $8.99 after instant savings of $4.
ORGANIC PASTA: In Teterboro, I saw this variety pack of Garofalo Organic Penne and other pasta shapes, but not the Garofalo Organic Spaghetti sold at the Costco Business Center in Hackensack.
MUSICAL MELONS: Costco members thumped and slapped large watermelons like drums before finding one with a pleasing sound and placing them in their carts ($5.99 each). My strategy is to find the biggest and heaviest one.

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