Fred West, owner of the Tustumena Smokehouse in Kasilof, has perfected a technique for processing Pink, Chum, and Red salmon into a tasty pepperoni, polish sausage, bratwurst, or breakfast sausage. West's new product has captured the interest of local and state officials interested in revitalizing Alaska's troubled fishing industry.
"I've been in the salmon industry for over 30-years. Historically my family has only produced a smoke salmon product, but it became necessary for us to make this move for the survival of our industry. We are competing against foreign farm fishing and in order for us to continue a successful industry and compete, we have had to become creative and come up with innovative ideas, and this one hits the nail on the head," said West.
The creative entrepreneur has premiered his new product to rave reviews in Juneau, Anchorage, and locally at Borough Assembly meetings and trade shows. "I've had a lot of support from folks like Borough Mayor Dale Bagley and Jack Brown," said West, who admits that his recipes are a well kept family secret.
The new products will be available at local markets and selected restaurants this summer, according to West. In researching his product, West discovered that the major retailers in the lower 48 wanted a product that they could offer year round and not just during the traditional 3 month wild salmon season. "This new product allows that to happen. We will purchase enough fish through the summer months to keep in the freezers so that we can produce a product week after week and supply it through out the year," West said. Presently the new product is available at the Tustumena Smokehouse and retails for $3.98 a pound.
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