A really great local food story

tilapia photo from Quixotic Farming website

tilapia photo from Quixotic Farming website

Eating more fish for health has become problematic.  The oceans are being overfished.  Fish stocks are depleted and some fishing grounds have been closed.  Deep sea fishing, with giant factory ships dragging ginormous nets, threatens other species.  Not to mention all the diesel fuel used up traveling thousands of miles over open oceans to find those dwindling fish supplies and keep them frozen while motoring thousands of miles back to port.  Not to mention the energy costs of shipping ocean fish overland to distribution centers.  Farmed fish?  Fish farms along the coast have their own issues, like water pollution and escape of farm fish into the wild.  It’s enough to make a person give up eating fish.

But maybe we won’t have to.  The future of fish consumption could be local, and in Colorado, that future is happening.  At Quixotic Farming in Canon City, CO, tilapia are raised in a sustainable fish farm operation, far from rivers and oceans.  The water is filtered and recirculated, with waste sent to fertilize local vegetable crops.  The fish are raised without growth stimulants or antibiotics, and the feed is free of animal by-products.   It tends to pick up flavors from the water it lives in, so when tilapia is raised in muddy fish farm ponds, it develops a muddy flavor.  If you’ve eaten tilapia like that — typically imported — you should try tilapia raised in clean filtered water.

Tilapia is low fat, low calorie and high protein.  It’s versatile, and can be used in a variety of recipes that call for a white fleshed fish.  Quixotic Farming sells three tilapia products:

  1. frozen filets, which can be cooked as filets or used in recipes calling for chunks of fish
  2. Tilapia burgers, which can are easy to serve on a bun, garnished to your taste
  3. Tilapia cakes, which are small breaded fish cakes with a variety of uses.

You can also find recipes on the website.

Quixotic Farming tilapia is available at Whole Foods locations, in 12 states.  Availability will expand soon when a second production facility opens in the midwest.  Buying local tilapia eliminates reliance on far flung overseas fish farms, that depend on energy-intensive long-distance shipping and refrigeration.

This local/sustainable food production model represents the future of our food supply.  From roof-top gardens supplying restaurants on the ground floor to dispersed fish farms to local egg production, the food supply chain will need to evolve to produce food in a way that enhances the environment and cuts energy use.

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