Smoked Salmon Since 2002

Our first farmers market was February 9, 2002 at Stetson and 5th Avenue in Old Town Scottsdale. We had one table and one tent strapped to an old jeep with one product in a cooler. A few months into it, I started bringing a small smoker to promote the product and attract attention. Nothing works better than a fresh free sample of smoked salmon on a toothpick with the aroma of hardwood smoke hanging in the air. Sometimes we could see a stranger catch the scent 100 feet away and make a bee line to the source with a smile of anticipation.

We have hosted many smoked salmon classes to interested parties over the years. Some stick with it and enjoy the process and ritual, while others never do it again and appreciate my effort providing all the necessary steps to provide a freezer stable ready to eat product. 

My old and dependable smoker caught on fire last spring. I decided to take a break from the ritual of thawing, fabricating, curing, smoking, drying, chilling, vacuum packing, freezing and labelling. I have spent the last few months thinking about purchasing a commercial smoker vs. building a custom unit. What size to buy or build is what I am contemplating now. Past trends and sales records help, but the future will determine whether decisions made now are good, bad, or indifferent. So, I ask you good people for input. Who wants smoked salmon? Sockeye is by far the most popular. What package size do you prefer? Two equal portions totaling 5 to 7 ounces sells the quickest so far, but variety helps the larger market. A sea salt cure with hardwood hickory smoke has won the ten year experiment on what you the customers prefer to eat and feed your families and friends. 

Help me help you by ordering smoked salmon in advance. The response from this story will determine how much capital we commit to continuing the smoked salmon business.

Our email list consists of approximately 2200 subscribers. About 600 typically open and read the contents of an average post. One percent usually respond directly with an order or comment. Be that one percent if you want me to smoke some salmon for you ASAP. 



My Favorite Health Food 🍨

I have made a habit of not having packaged food around the house and eat homemade food from basic ingredients. In moments of human weakness disguised as reward, I am guilty of blatant disregard of my professed lifestyle by rushing to the closest store for ultra novel hyper palatable junk food in the form of ice cream, cookies, and potato chips of all kinds. This is usually consumed in a bacchanalia of overindulgence until no evidence of it remains. Almost like it never happened. Realizing these psychotic outbreaks need to change, I set on a path to emulate the experience without sacrificing my moral code. 

It started with chocolate chip cookies. Stocking the ingredients of Kerrygold butter, King Arthur flour and gourmet sugar and chocolate drops was the first step. Knowing the ingredients were in my cabinet and convinced they will taste better than any packaged purchase, I began to explore making treats.

Next step was to render pork fat to fry chips and donuts. Pork fat is the king of frying oils. It also has the second highest vitamin A and D in the world, making it a true health food. Frying a lot of potatoes is all labor and almost no cost. Dipping sauces whipped from sour cream and spices keeps the blood sugars in better order than bottled ketchup, ranch or bbq sauce full of corn syrup, vegetable oils and preservatives. 

My latest emulation is the fast food burger and giant burrito. I like to keep 4 pounds of ground beef/pork thawing in the fridge at all times. Dicing onions, roasting potatoes, peeling green chiles and shredding a large pile of real cheese takes hours of effort and clean up. However, the gushing compliments I receive after the family has eaten a mountain of authentic burritos makes it all worth while.

Ice cream got my attention a couple of years ago. At first, I rationalized buying only high end brands with better and fewer ingredients. Thinking I could engineer a better product, I spent hours researching recipes and testing different ice cream makers. When I stock all the ingredients on hand, it is easier, faster and cheaper to make a half gallon of sweet ice cream than run to a store to satisfy the immediate gratification of purchase and consumption. 

Ultra premium ice cream is a combination of milk, cream, eggs, honey, salt and freezer technology. Real dairy is made of protein, lactose and fat soluble vitamins. Real eggs are full of necessary cholesterol and protein. Honey is pure magic and salt is electrolytes. Put it all together with love in a machine that drops to -30 degrees F in twenty minutes while churning in air bubbles create what I call the Frozen Land of Milk and Honey.

Quart of Whole Milk

Quart of Heavy Whipping Cream

6 Whole Eggs

Pound of Honey

Pinch of Salt

Dash of Vanilla

Swig of distilled neutral spirits

I bought and tested many ice cream machines and finally settled on a 1.5 L Winter brand ice-less chum with a built in refrigeration compressor. When I mix the right ingredients with enough love into the right machine, the result is so tasty and satisfying that I believe it is actually a health food disguised as an indulgent sin.

Warning! If you attain this elevated effort, you might not enjoy store bought ice cream ever again at any price.