Prize win­ning St James eyes Mi­ami sup­ply

Fish Farmer - - Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019 -

BREN­DAN Ma­her, owner of Scot­land salmon com­pany St James Smoke­house, said win­ning a Seafood Ex­cel­lence Global award in Brussels was a sur­prise, but he must be get­ting used to win­ning.

The An­nan and Mi­ami based busi­ness­man said it had been ‘amaz­ing’ when his Saint Pure Salmon won the prize for best new re­tail prod­uct at the Bos­ton seafood show in March, but the lat­est ac­co­lade, for the best re­tail pack­ag­ing, was ‘sur­real’.

The prod­uct is sushi grade At­lantic salmon sourced from an Aqua­cul­ture Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil (ASC) cer­ti­fied farm in Chile.

It is cured with sea salt and brown su­gar and smoked over Florida or­ange and grapefruit wood, giv­ing it a light fruity smoke pro­file.

The salmon is sliced ver­ti­cally, sashimi style, and the prod­uct’s pack­ag­ing is black and fea­tures in­fo­graph­ics aimed at a younger de­mo­graphic.

Ma­her said his suc­cess in both the big­gest Amer­i­can and big­gest Euro­pean seafood shows was ‘con­fir­ma­tion you are do­ing some­thing right’.

He said no one else is us­ing Florida or­ange and grapefruit wood and he wanted to do some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent.

‘Prove­nance is re­ally im­por­tant in terms of what­ever prod­uct you sell,’ he said at his stand in the Scot­tish pav­il­ion. In Scot­land, they have the her­itage but he wanted to do some­thing dis­tinc­tive in Florida.

‘I didn’t want to build a smoke­house in Mi­ami and then just do a Micky McMouse ver­sion of what we do in Scot­land.

‘We’re the world’s most award win­ning smoked salmon com­pany and I’m re­ally proud of that, but I wanted the Mi­ami plant to have its own iden­tity, and not be the lit­tle Amer­i­can cousin of the Scot­land one.’

Branded as ‘Saint’ – ‘the brother or sis­ter of St James’ – the Mi­ami prod­uct takes its prove­nance from Florida’s her­itage as the big­gest grower of cit­rus in the world.

Be­cause of the con­tin­ual prun­ing of the trees, there is an abun­dance of wood- or­ange, le­mon, lime and so on. Ma­her has re­pur­posed this waste fruit wood which, he said, gives a light smoke….more ‘fresh and hip’.

The prod­uct was launched for the Amer­i­can mar­ket but he said it had since at­tracted at­ten

tion in Europe and he will sell it here, just as his Scot­tish salmon is sold in the US.

Ma­her, who lives in Mi­ami and Scot­land, is friends with Jo­han An­dreassen, the Nor­we­gian be­hind the At­lantic Sap­phire land based salmon farm in Mi­ami, and he sees this as a fu­ture sup­plier.

‘There is a syn­ergy there – he’s rais­ing the salmon in Mi­ami and we’re smok­ing it in Mi­ami so that project in­ter­ests me. Again, you’ve got to­tal prove­nance.’

Left: Bren­dan Ma­her

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