Studies repeatedly show that Americans are pre-occupied with healthy eating. They hold many strong beliefs about food, nutrition and food safety that guide their food-related decisions (though they do not always follow their own rules, and some ideas may not be entirely correct). Scientifically grown shellfish such as FOA’s colossal shrimp and oysters are uniquely positioned to capitalize on those beliefs and to become an increasing viable and available alternative to address these food needs. Of course, these particular luxury foods taste especially delicious too, so they would be attractive menu items at high end restaurants whether the diners were “healthy eaters” or not.
Sushi-Grade Colossal Shrimp (Click Here)
Shrimp are America’s most popular seafood, even overtaking canned tuna in the last decade. Shrimp is delicious and most people considered shrimp a highly desirable luxury food until imports of farmed shrimp drove down prices for the small and medium sizes that are now ubiquitous.
FOA’s colossal shrimp are our brand name for a species known as Pacific white shrimp, grown to a very large (colossal) size and under strict water quality controls. They are the highest “sushi grade” delivered fresh, never frozen with a light, nutty and slightly buttery flavor.
As if the flavor, texture and look of shrimp were not enough, FOA shrimp are an exceptional health food. In fact, a four ounce serving of shrimp supplies 23.7 grams of protein (that's 47.4% of the daily value for protein) for a mere 112 calories and less than a gram of fat.
Some people avoid eating fish and shellfish of all kinds because they have heard persistent government warnings about mercury contamination. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, mercury levels in shrimp generally are too low to detect. The agency places no restrictions on how many meals of shrimp people may safely consume.15 Because FOA shrimp are grown indoors under tight water quality controls, consumers can rest assured of safety from mercury and PCB contamination, even if the FDA changes its standards.
Virtually all imported shrimp and the vast majority of the wild caught harvest are flash frozen and distributed so that most reach the consumer when they are six to nine months old. These shrimp vary greatly in quality, texture and flavor. Once thawed, they have a shelf life of 24 – 48 hours maximum. FOA sushi grade shrimp are delivered fresh on ice, and never frozen. They have a shelf life of several days. For restaurants and fish markets, this extended shelf life means less waste that essentially lowers the cost of the product.
Local Oysters (Click Here)
Oysters remain a luxury food nearly everywhere in the US, except perhaps for “Gulf Oysters” harvested in and around Louisiana and Mississippi, where they were a relatively inexpensive local produce (prior to the BP oil spill). They are an excellent source of several minerals, including iron, zinc and selenium, often not adequate in the American diet. They are also an excellent source of vitamin B12. Oysters are considered the healthiest when eaten raw on the half shell.
Raw oysters have complex flavors that vary greatly among varieties and regions: sweet, salty, earthy, or even melon. Connoisseurs speak of oysters much as fine wines, distinguishing Wellfleets from Kumamotos, Blue Points, Canadas, Yaquina Bays, Malpeques and Cape Mays. Each has an identifiable flavor profile created by the mineral content, salinity and food supply in their region of origin, though the texture of each is soft, runny, fleshy, and crisp on the palate. According to James King of JP Shellfish in Eliot, ME, a fresh Damariscotta oyster can fetch up to $5 on the half shell at the toniest raw bars in Los Angeles.
Oysters feed by filtering the water around them of nutrients and so they naturally concentrate the surrounding water chemistry and organic matter, sometimes including harmful bacteria. Oysters from the Gulf Coast, for example, contain high bacterial loads of human pathogens in the warm months, some more deadly than Salmonella. This characteristic makes oysters prone to contamination of all kinds, often interrupting supplies and even wiping out whole oyster populations. They are a seasonal harvest sometimes for biological reasons and other times by regulation.
FOA will bring 1.3 million pounds of fresh oysters to market annually. Grown under scientific controls and the purest water quality, they will taste delicious, be available year round and give oyster aficionados and restaurateurs confidence that they are wholesome as well as tasty.
Samphire (Click Here)
Salicornia europaea plants grow naturally in saline areas such as reclaimed lands, closed salt farms, and seashores where they draw nourishment from dissolved seawater minerals. In England, it is one of several plants known as Samphire; a name believed to be a corruption of the French, herbe de Saint-Pierre.” Samphire grows nicely in the saline water that FOA uses to raise its shrimp and contributes to maintaining a fine nutrient balance in the aquatic eco-system.
As a salty, crunchy salad herb, Samphire is perhaps the world’s saltiest edible vegetable, though it is highly edible, either cooked or raw.
Recently, Samphire has garnered attention for its effectiveness in reducing hypertension, heart diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and constipation. FOA’s Samphire will be produced without synthetic chemicals, fungicides or fertilizers and so it fully qualifies as an organic vegetable.
Samphire is usually either boiled, microwaved or steamed and then coated in butter or olive oil. Most cooks add plenty of water to dilute the salt. After cooking, the tender, edible flesh is pulled off from the string-like core. The cooked vegetable resembles seaweed in color, and the flavor and texture are similar to young spinach stems or top grade young asparagus. Samphire is very often used as a suitably maritime accompaniment to fish or seafood.
FOA believes that the restaurateurs and chefs who purchase our shrimp and oysters will welcome Samphire as a new, distinctive, healthy, nutritious, organic vegetable side dish. Our informal surveys support that view. Shoppers can find it on the shelves at many Whole Foods stores around the US at about $10-12/lb.