March 23, 2016|By | Food

Alterra and family 390x260Alterra and her three children.

By day, my role as The Conservation Fund’s Business Partnerships Manager allows me the privilege of working with leading companies to solve some of our greatest environmental challenges. My most important role, however, is as Mom to my three children. With the birth of my son 10 years ago, I asked myself: what kind of world do I want to leave to him? This question has inspired my career and everything I do. Ten years and two daughters later, I am more committed than ever to finding sustainable solutions for my family, our country, and our world. I know that my real work toward a sustainable future starts at home–by raising my children with healthy foods in their tummies and with an awareness of how simple decisions about food have an impact on our planet. But all of this has to be done on a very busy schedule and in a very fast-paced—Okay, sometimes chaotic—environment of a family of five. Yet, as busy as we are, it’s important for us to not let our schedules get in the way of our love for healthy, sustainable, and responsible food.

This is why I was so happy to hear that for the third year in a row Wegmans will be carrying Spring Hill Salmon from The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute. This partnership with Wegmans will bring fresh salmon to all Wegmans grocery stores in Maryland and Virginia for a limited time this March and April through our wholesaler partner, JJ McDonnell. Wegmans was named best overall supermarket by Consumer Reports.

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Spring Hill Salmon is raised only 1.5 hours from the D.C. Metro area in Shepherdstown, West Virginia and are fed with a specially formulated, non-GMO diet. Photo by Dagny Leonard.

Spring Hill Salmon are grown in clean water closed containment tanks and are never exposed to antibiotics or pesticides. Plus, they are fed with a specially formulated, non-GMO diet that produces good-for-you, naturally-pigmented fillets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. It has even received the Best Choice ranking by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program for farmed Atlantic salmon produced in land-based systems. This watchdog organization helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that's fished or farmed in ways that have minimal impact on the environment–it’s a great resource to use during your weekly shopping.

Why does this matter to me? When 9 out of 10 seafood meals eaten in the U.S. are imported, it’s amazing to have access to local salmon raised only 1.5 hours from the D.C. Metro area in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. My family won’t get fresher or more local fish than that.

FreshwaterInstitute DaveHarp 390x260
The Freshwater Institute specializes in the production and design of aquaculture systems; and in solutions to the water quality constraints and impacts presented by our farms and communities. Photo by David Harp.

These fish are raised on land, in a system where fresh spring water circulates 100 times before it is cleaned and released. My family won’t get healthier fish than that.

The system saves precious water and also repurposes waste for things like fertilizer. My family won’t get more sustainable fish than that.

Local, Healthy, Sustainable – three things I want to teach my kids. (#TeachingMoment)

Just writing this blog gave me the opportunity to teach my family a new word:  “aquaculture,” (or as my three-year-old daughter says “aquachulker”) which means fish farming.

Maybe I can’t explain to her right now that the aquaculture systems at the Freshwater Institute are secure, reliable, and both economically and environmentally sustainable. Maybe she won’t understand that we are establishing better production systems, management practices, and expanded market and investment opportunities for domestic aquaculture production.  Maybe she won’t fully grasp that our dinner can be more sustainable and globally competitive for our local U.S. farmers. 

But what she can understand is when Mama tells her that a big tank of fish and a smart team of experts, partners, funders and even a veterinarian are helping to get her the yummiest, healthiest dinner they can–and in a way that is nicest to our planet and country—she gets it. And she gets a happy Mama. (And she even asked for seconds!) Freshwater Institute’s salmon is showing her a sustainable present and future where it’s possible to sustainably grow healthy, clean, nutritious and safe salmon locally and get it to families like mine.

So, in the spirit of healthy, local food, let me save you some time by offering you this amazing recipe from our friends at the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, a non-profit whose mission is to raise awareness about the essential nutritional benefits of eating seafood to support a healthier America, for you to enjoy. If you’re in the D.C. metro area, stop by Wegmans to try our salmon tonight!

Cumin Scented Salmon with Black Bean Stew

Cumin Scented SalmonFrom Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s Eating Heart Healthy Nutrition Program
Created By Executive Chef Kelly Armetta, Hyatt Regency Boston

Serves: 4
Cost Per Recipe: $12.16
Omega-3 Per Serving: 2000 mg

Cumin Scented Salmon
Photo by Chef Kelly Armetta at the Hyatt Regency Boston.


  • 1 lbs. - Salmon filet
  • 1 - 14.5 oz. - Canned tomato, chopped
  • 1 - 15.5 oz. - Black Beans, low sodium
  • 1 oz. - Poblano Peppers, chopped
  • 1 - Lime, juiced 
  • 2 - Scallions/Green Onions, chopped 
  • 2 Tbsp. - Garlic, chopped
  • 2 oz. - Onions, white or yellow, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. - Cumin, ground
  • 1 Tbsp. - Coriander seed, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. - Cilantro, fresh, chopped
  • Chili flakes - To Taste     
  • 2 Tbsp. - Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper (S&P) To Taste     
  • 1 1/2 cups - Water

  1. Cook Salmon: Heat 1/2 oil in a heavy skillet on a medium heat.  
  2. Mix together cumin and coriander seed, season fish with spices and S&P. Save some spice mix. 
  3. Add Salmon to skillet and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes.  
  4. Make Black Bean Stew: Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in another pan and add onions and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes.  
  5. Add peppers and chili flakes.  
  6. Add saved spiced mix from Step 2. Cook until aroma starts to smell. 
  7. Add tomatoes and allow tomatoes to start to sear. 
  8. Add black beans and water. Simmer for 10 minutes.  
  9. Add cilantro, scallions and lime juice. Add S&P. Cook for 2 minutes.
  10. Place black beans in individual bowls and add salmon portion on top. 
  11. Serve and Enjoy. 

Have you tried our salmon? Be sure to tell us what you think!