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Farmed Fish at Costco

As much as I would love to be snobby about my palate for fish, and as much as I want to be responsible about eating fish caught from the sea rather than that raised in a fish farm and fed some sort of colorant to turn the meat the expected pink hue, I find myself actually loving the flavor of farmed atlantic salmon and farmed steelhead that I have been buying from Costco.

I've been buying these two fish for the past 3 years from them, and I've never been disappointed with the freshness or the flavor.

I also buy large amounts of troll caught king salmon and sockeye salmon from Costco when these fish are in season, as well as halibut filets, and occasionally other seafood. The wild salmon varieties and halibut have always been delicious as well. And I do love the divergent flavors of sockeye and king salmon for each of their own virtues.

But I can't hate on the farmed salmon and steelhead they seem to stock all year. Many on CH say it's not worth eating. I can't agree. I dig it. What's your experience been?

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    1. Try Costco frozen wild king salmon.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Monica

        Mine never has it, and I HATE sockeye.

      2. Glad to hear that Costco is employing trolls. Lots of employers don't want the liability ;-). Seriously, I am not troubled by whether or not my fish is farmed, trawled, or line-caught. I'm not convinced that ocean or fresh bodies of water are any cleaner than fish farm tanks. For the most part, they're probably just different assortments of germs and pollutants. Pick your poison. I'd like to avoid consuming endangered fish, though that's a moving target, what with overlapping names for the same species, and conflicting expert opinions.

        Nice to know that Costco's quality is so good. I've been a member for decades but never bought fish since the packages are large and I am a household of one. But next time I have extra freezer room, I'll put some ice in my insulated grocery tote and give it a try. Thanks!

        1 Reply
        1. re: greygarious

          The problem is that irresponsibly farmed fish causes harm and increases pollution and disease.

          Costco, however, has strong QC measures for sustainable fish farming and practices.

        2. Consider me a hater.
          It's just that I can get better fish elsewhere . If I lived somewhere else where that was not possible maybe I'd try Costco fish.

          4 Replies
          1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

            So you know for a fact (how?) that other fish is better quality, and hate Coatco's without ever having tried it? Not a very chowish approach....

            1. re: greygarious

              I've had Costco fish, and it has really improved over the years, I'll give them that.
              I've also definitely had great farmed fish, everyone has if they eat a lot of fish.
              I just find that in general my fishmonger gets better fish than Costco, they're super knowledgeable, it's closer than Costco, and I've really never been disappointed with their fish. They also have a better variety of fish in general.
              Also, the local asian grocery stores have great options, especially when it comes to making stocks and such.
              That being said, maybe I'll look closer next time I'm at Costco, could be a great option for having 5-6 people over for dinner.

            2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

              Sure you can, if you're buying it off the boat, at the dock. Costco fish is excellent quality. They take pains to be sure their farmed fish is not from polluting and unwholesome fish farms and they only sell very high quality dry scallops, not water logged ones that predominate elsewhere. I've had excellent wild caught flounder from there, as well as shrimp. And I know where it's coming from and that someone who cares about food quality and the environment is overseeing purchasing and sales.

              I can guarantee your standard of food quality is not above mine nor an awful lot of folks here who make sure they know what they're getting for their food buck in every way.

            3. Farmed vs. wild caught isn't cut and dried. Some farmed, if done properly is great both environmentally and for the fish you end up eating. Some wild caught is irresponsible, decimates the population of the fish and if done improperly, might not result in something you really want to eat.

              I'm willing to try just about anything if the sourcing is good (by which I mean ethical and reasonably environmentally friends and, mostly, transparent), whether it's farmed or wild.

              1. I can probably get fresher fish around me, but they don't beat the prices at Costco. Salmon is such an easy fish to freeze and makes a great quick meal. My only problem is I think I over did it on salmon and I've now lost my taste for it. When we bought it I preferred the farmed atlantic.

                1. I've been buying these two fish for the past 3 years from them, and I've never been disappointed with the freshness or the flavor.

                  That's the key, isn't it?

                  I think we should all let go of label-focus, and work on our taste-focus.

                  What good is "wild" this or that, if it doesn't taste good to the person eating.

                  And, conversely, what's wrong with "farmed" this or that if it tastes good to person enjoying it.

                  Eat what you enjoy. Enjoy what you eat.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I agree in terms of what tastes good. I do think there's a place for thinking a bit about where stuff comes from insofar as there are fishing and farming practices that are awful and destructive and there are practices that are at least not harmful and sometimes helpful. I'd prefer tastes good and not harmful.

                    2. My experience is that I will NOT purchase farmed fish, nor eat it, from anywhere.
                      Costco too.
                      But you asked and that's just my personal.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: latindancer

                        How recently have you looked into fish farming practices or taste of farmed fish?
                        I used to be adamantly to farmed fish but I suggest you at least re-look into it. I still think Costco has good but not great fish, but I have had farmed that far exceeded my expectations to the point of thinking I'd definitely buy it.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          Lots of nice, responsible farmed fish choices out there these days. Sturgeon, trout (including steelhead), tilapia, and a number of others. Atlantic salmon is almost always irresponsibly farmed, though there are a few exceptions. Wild Alaskan salmon is a much better choice. And as mentioned, steelhead is fine.


                          1. re: aburitoro

                            Farmed tilapia from the U.S. is monitored for environmental impact and density within the farm,as well as sustainable.
                            Tilapia from other countries such as latin america and china/thailand/asia are not monitored closely and have truly horrific conditions, environmental pollution, and questionable feed. So you can't just say "tilapia"....

                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                              I've read that Ecuador has decent tilapia farming conditions as well, but other than that and the U.S, pee ewww.

                            2. re: aburitoro

                              Where can you find responsibly farmed Atlantic salmon?

                          2. The Costco in Marina Del Rey/Culver City is now carrying Verlasso farmed Atlantic salmon: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/cr/seafoo...

                            Price was $12.99/pound. Although at that price, I happily "upgraded" to the Copper River stuff at $13.99/pound.