When we first bought our property, we weren't exactly sure how (or if) we could create a viable business with the trout. The man who created the tiered pond system had one of the first commercial trout farms in the area. It was his success over 20 years ago that spawned others to give trout farming a try. And many, indeed, make a good living as trout farmers. There is only one true commercial farm that we know of in the immediate surroundings. There is another about 20 km away, and it has all the newest processing machinery and apparently they supply to many restaurants in San Jose (as rumour has it). We're not the least bit interested in running a big operation; however, if we could find a way to cash in on a small 'boutique' or 'artisan' business, that would suit us nicely.
Today, we had our first business transaction with our dairy farmer/friend, Roberto. He makes high-quality cheese... and he also smokes trout... for his clients in San Jose. Smoked trout is becoming more popular and there appears to be an increase in demand, which is awesome for Roberto. Roberto usually buys his trout from that big trout farm 20 km away. He has to drive all the way there and back so he wondered if we were in a position to sell some of our trout. As a matter of fact, we'd love to sell him some of our trout. We can make a bit of money and perhaps start a nice partnership helping each other out.
We've been looking into getting a smoker ourselves to provide options for our guests (not to mention we love smoked trout ourselves) so maybe we can help Roberto with production as well. Early days yet, but opportunities abound if we're open to them. At the moment, Roberto is looking for 10 kilos per week of trout fillet, which translates into approximately 13 large fish. We currently have a little more than 200 large trout in our big pond and 750 medium sized trout in a smaller pond. We don't want our large trout to get too much bigger (meat gets less succulent when they reach over 3 kilos). So, for now, it seems like a nice little project. Roberto is buying the whole fish (not gutted), but if my filleting skills improve, perhaps we can offer fillets later.
Since all our trout are female, they produce eggs. We've been researching trout caviar. It looks like there's a market for that delicacy as well. We'll be looking into it.
It feels good to know we have options.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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