We are three fishing friends from Savonia, or thereabouts: Kaj Arvonen, Pekka Viljakainen and Petri Heino. We all appreciate fine food and were concerned about the quality, flavour and availability of Finnish fish. So we developed a whole new way of farming fish in the pure waters of Lake Saimaa, except indoors. Or to be precise, we rethought the entire fish farming chain, from the fish eggs we use to the portion-sized fillets we produce. We believe that now is the right time to make a splash so that fresh, healthy, Finnish fish finds its way back to Finnish dining tables!
It all begins with fresh and clean fish eggs, which we import to Finland directly from certified producers. Fish eggs from mature female fish are brought to our fish hatchery in Hollola, where the incubation period lasts a few days. Eventually, the juvenile fish can swim and feeding begins. This takes place in Huutokoski in the heart of Savonia.
The most important aspect for raising healthy fish is to provide clean and oxygen-rich flowing water. Our brand-new recirculating aquaculture plant in Varkaus provides the perfect solution for this, as the water is circulated all the time. Along the way it is filtered, nitrogen compounds are converted into harmless nitrates, carbon dioxide is vented off, the pH levels are regulated, the water is oxygenated and the water temperature is precisely controlled. Best of all, the recirculating aquaculture system does not burden the environment!
The carefully controlled conditions ensure that the fatty acid content of Saimaan Tuore’s fish is absolutely spot on. The precisely optimised cultivation environment means that the fish get exactly the right nutrients, while the regulated water temperature makes sure the fish continue to feed all year round. As a result, the Omega-3 fatty acids that are so healthy and important for humans are in perfect balance. When fish swim all the time, their meat is tense and muscular. Our fish are real athletes compared to the plump fish you buy in bags!
Clean water also means clean fish. Even though the fish are raised in fresh water, the purity of the water means they can even be eaten raw – perfect for sushi! They contain no parasites or anything else that would require them to be cooked.
We spoke with a lot of people, who told us that they were intimidated by the whole fish sold behind the counter and simply terrified by the thought of all those bones. This made us rethink how fish should be sold in stores. Saimaan Tuore’s rainbow trout is sold in packages containing one or two fillets. Packages containing one fillet are perfect for one adult, while packages containing double fillets are perfect for two adults or one adult and two children. Packaging fish as perfect portions reduces food waste, and the size is also perfect for optimising breeding and feeding.
When it comes to food preparation, Saimaan Tuore’s fillets are true fast food. They can be thrown on a pan or into the oven and cooked in just a matter of minutes. Another sign of Savonian ingenuity is the fact that our fillets are the perfect size for 26-centimetre frying pans!
Mika Remes has written a series of articles about the state of fish in Finland today for the book Kala – pinnan alta pöytään (“Fish – from beneath the surface to the table”, Readme 2017). If you wade through these articles, you will no doubt come to the same conclusion as us that changes are needed. Our response to the challenges is the recirculating aquaculture system, which can help bring clean, fresh, Finnish fish back to Finnish tables. This method also ensures that our fishing waters are always full of fish in both hot weather and cold, rain or shine. And if we didn’t already mention it, that also means consistent prices!