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Sustainably harvested Pacific Northwest wild-caught salmon and seafood delivered to your door

Vital Choice Seafood guarantees your fish is fresh and sustainably harvested. Sponsored by Vital Choice Seafood.

SEATTLE — Randy Hartnell left a 20-year career fishing in cold Alaskan waters to start his own business, Vital Choice Seafood. With the practiced eye of a fisherman, Hartnell can guarantee the freshness and quality of every fish he sells.   

"Vital Choice is a company I started with my wife about twenty years ago," said Hartnell, "I was fishing in Alaska, I loved it, it was a wonderful way to make a living, but farmed salmon kind of exploded on world markets. And all of a sudden, nobody wanted these beautiful wild salmon that we had any more." 

Credit: Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics
Prior to founding Vital Choice, Randy Hartnell spent more than 20 years fishing wild, pristine Alaskan waters for salmon, herring, and other regional species.

That was when Hartnell realized he needed to change career paths in order to make a living. 

"I knew there were people out there that still wanted wild salmon, but were having a hard time finding it. We're lucky in the Pacific Northwest, we have better options than most people, but most of the country doesn't have access to wild salmon." 

Hartnell said there is a multitude of reasons why wild salmon is different from its farmed counterpart. 

"Wild salmon is one of the last truly wild, naturally organic foods we have access to," he said. "And beyond that, it's one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet."

According to Hartnell, a common misconception surrounding salmon is that frozen fish isn't fresh. In reality, he said, the freshest tasting fish is often the fish that has been frozen immediately after being caught. 

"The thing that makes this salmon and other oily fish so healthy is polyunsaturated fats," said Hartnell. "They're notoriously unstable and they go rancid quickly. It may take four or five days for fish to get from the boat, through the distribution chain, to the store, to your plate. All the while, it's degrading. So if you can find salmon or seafood that's been frozen right off the boat, you're locking in that fresh-caught flavor." 

Hartnell also mentioned that seafood buyers are usually used to the product they buy at the grocery store looking uniform. With wild fish, he said, there is a range of what the product can look like. 

"When it comes to King salmon, you can get a completely white fish--which we call Ivory King salmon, or you can get a redder version. A lot of it depends on where they're caught, the rivers that they're going up, and so forth." 

As for cooking the salmon, Hartnell said it could not be easier. 

"A lot of people think you need heavy sauces or a lot of seasonings, but when you start out with really good quality fish, simpler is better." 

Credit: Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics
Vital Choice customers have several options when it comes to the kind of seafood they want and how often.

Vital Choice customers have several options when it comes to the kind of seafood they want and how often.

"We have five different kinds of salmon and lots of different kinds of whitefish and shellfish. But people just didn't know what they wanted, and so what we did is we put together what we call a 'welcome box,'" said Hartnell. "And we also have a subscription box. So what we do is we pick out our favorite things, and we put them in that welcome box. It's a way for people to experience the service, experience a variety of products. And then after some period of time, when you figure out what you like, then you can just tell us." 

SPECIAL OFFER: Get $25 off your first vital box with the code NEWDAY25.

Credit: Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics
According to Hartnell, wild salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

Recipe for Perfect Oven-Roasted Wild Salmon

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • two 6-oz portions wild salmon, boneless, skin-on, thawed in package
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and preheat the oven to 500 F.

Remove thawed fish portions from packaging, gently rinse, and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub each portion liberally with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

Reduce the oven setting to 275 F and remove the preheated baking sheet. Arrange fish portions in the hot pan, placing them skin-side down and 2 inches apart.

Bake on the lower rack of the oven until the thickest part of the fillet is still translucent when cut with a paring knife or an instant-read thermometer registers 120 F when inserted in the thickest part of the fillet, 9–13 minutes. Transfer the fish to a serving platter or individual plates and serve.

SPECIAL OFFER: Get $25 off your first vital box with the code NEWDAY25.

This story is sponsored by Vital Choice Seafood. Watch New Day Northwest 11:00 weekdays on KING-TV Ch.5 or streaming live on KING5.com. Connect with New Day via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram