wild run salmon and cod

Wild run salmon and cod

Bringing the Pacific to Minnesota

Community-supported agriculture, or CSA, is a term now ubiquitous with foodies and local food enthusiasts, but many may be unaware of its cousin — the CSF.

Community-supported fisheries take the guesswork and uncertainty out of buying sustainable fish, arguably one of the most confusing food markets, because the fish comes directly from the angler. If you’re looking for high-quality, direct-to-consumer fish in Minnesota (and you don’t have a friend with an ice house), you can’t get much fresher than a CSF like Wild Run Salmon.

After retiring from his corporate job in 2004, Matt Oxford set out to start Wild Run Salmon, fishing out of Homer, Alaska for wild salmon and cod. Unlike many with boats of his size, Matt and his three sons not only fish on their boat, the Blue Ox, but they also process and freeze fish on board (rather than sending their catch to a processer). His customers can always trust they are getting his sushi-grade, sustainably caught fish.

Matt travels back to Minnesota during the off-season and sells frozen salmon and cod fillets at the Mill City Farmers Market. You can sign up for one of Wild Run Salmon’s CSF shares to get a discount on 10 or 20 pounds of Sockeye, Coho and Chinook salmon.

Paying in advance like this gives the fisher money at the beginning of the season when expenses (licenses, permits, equipment, etc.) are significantly higher. And don’t worry about freezer space — Matt will store your fillets in his freezer and you can pick them up as often as you like.

Visit the Mill City Farmers Market inside the Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St., on Jan. 27, Feb. 10, March 10 or March 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to chat with Matt about the upcoming fishing season and grab some salmon to take home.

More information can be found at millcityfarmersmarket.org.

Poached wild salmon with arugula walnut pesto

Recipe by chef Heather Meyer

For the pesto

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups arugula (about 2 pounds), large stems discarded
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 ounces grated Manchego cheese from Shepherd’s Way Farm at the Mill City Farmers Market
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the salmon

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 a medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon with seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • A pinch of black peppercorns
  • 1 sprig each of fresh rosemary, dill, parsley and sage
  • 2 5-ounce salmon fillets from Wild Run Salmon at the Mill City Farmers Market
  • Salad greens (for serving)

Toast the walnuts in a pie plate for about 8 minutes at 350° or until golden and fragrant. Let cool completely.

In a food processor, pulse the arugula leaves with the toasted walnuts and smashed garlic cloves until finely chopped. Add the cheese, lemon zest and juice and pulse until combined. With the machine on, add the olive oil in a steady stream and process to a smooth paste. Season the pesto with salt and pepper and set aside.

To poach the fish, combine 2 1/2 cups of water with the onion, lemon, salt, peppercorns and herbs in a large skillet over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the salmon, cover and continue to gently simmer for 5 minutes (a little longer for fillets or steaks that are thicker than 1/2 inch) or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Lift the fillets from the pan with a spatula, discard the poaching liquid and serve atop a mixed green salad with a generous spoonful of pesto.