12 Makers of Christmas – Glenarm Organic – Organic Smoked Salmon
Before Christmas dinner comes Christmas breakfast, and when there’s Glenarm’s incredible organic smoked salmon on the table, there won’t be any rush to get to those stockings.
Since their beginnings as the Northern Salmon Company in 1987, Glenarm Organic have been the only Atlantic salmon farmers in Irish waters. Their reputation as purveyors of world-class, organic smoked salmon might have grown over the years, but their founding principles always hold fast.
Based in the sleepy Glenarm Bay in County Antrim, they’re committed to providing a “real, sustainable alternative to wild salmon.” On this, Director Norman is unequivocal: “Our primary colours are environmental sustainability and animal welfare.”
“We don’t restrict their natural behaviours and we’re not causing them any undue stress. We don’t use machines in the care or the harvesting of the animals at all.”
When we swapped our usual wellies and tractor for the boat and life jacket to visit their small farm, we saw exactly what it takes to satisfy their strict standards and what makes their unique location perfectly suited to the work.
As in all fish farming, their organic salmon shoal together in large enclosures that are anchored to the seabed. While salmon will naturally form small schools, Glenarm refuse to pack them in tightly. It's all part of their more humane (if less profitable) approach. "We have around one third of the fish in our farms as you'd find in the conventional industry." This allows the salmon plenty of room to swim against the fast-moving currents, as they would do in the wild.
This constant exercise is in large part responsible for the satisfyingly firm flesh of their organic salmon, but that's only a small part of the magic. The subtly pink colouration and purity of flavour are thanks to Glenarm's firm belief in the organic way of doing things.
"Our guys are out there every day keeping an eye on the quality of the water and the health of the organic salmon. In their lifetime, they'll never come into contact with antibiotics, pesticides or other artificial chemicals," Norman tells us with pride. "Their diet of organic fishmeal is as close to what they'd enjoy in the wild as possible, and it's served by hand, right off the boat."
All the organic smoked salmon you'll find in our Christmas shop uses Glenarm fish, but to create the unmistakable taste of the traditional Christmas breakfast, there's one missing ingredient, and that's the smoke, of course.
Depending on the cut you're looking for, your organic smoked salmon will have been finished by one of two proud partners. If it comes under Glenarm's name, it's been prepped and smoked by the experts behind the glass counter at one of Belfast's oldest and best known fishmongers, Ewings. They have a history going back to the Titanic, and a knack for salt curing that's made them such an enduring name. Otherwise, you'll see the name Severn & Wye, who are committed to maintaining a neutral carbon footprint and are well known to those that enjoy the finer fish in life.
Wherever it's smoked, and whenever it's enjoyed, our organic smoked salmon is a rare treat to be savoured. What we do know is, come Christmas morning, you'll be glad you landed it with us.