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eden magazine Winter 2012


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BASK IONIE LICHTENSTEIN MAISON BLANCHE MINDY SOLOMON MOTE NARROWDAYLIGHT QUEENSHEAD EDEN’SGALLERY


BY SUSAN WECKWERTH PHOTOGRAPHY BY PLUSH

Savor Global Tastes with Local Sustainability

id you know that the United States seafood trade deficit has crossed the whopping 10 billion dollar mark? Simply put, this means we are importing a heck of a lot more than we should. When was the last time you were concerned enough to check where your seafood originated? Did you know that Mote is concerned, and is researching and developing eco-friendly, sustainable Siberian sturgeon aquaculture right here in Sarasota county? Mote has invested heavily in this cutting-edge technology over the past ten years. They are striving to drive down the costs, so that ultimately this system can be used for main stream species other than sturgeon. Surprisingly located 17 miles from the coast on a 200-acre parcel of farm land that the Mote Scientific Foundation purchased in

2001 from the Hi Hat Ranch, you will find the gated Mote Aquaculture Park. Driving through the gate into a picnic perfect setting of sun-dappled live oaks hung with Spanish moss gently swaying in the breeze, you can hear crickets chirping in the dew glistened grass, glimpse butterflies flitting about, and inhale the fresh, crisp morning air. You strain to hear an imagined Edvard Grieg’s Morning Mood in all the tranquility. Continue on past the cattail lined ponds, where Mote occasionally holds fish clinics for local youngsters learning how to fish, and properly handle the catch so that it does best when it is caught and released. Passing under the wooden Mote Aquaculture Park sign, you can hear the lulling whir of the fans as you get closer to the aquaculture barns whimsically topped with fish weather vanes. It is here that the Siberian sturgeon is painstakingly hatched and then raised in an environmentally friendly recirculated aquaculture system. Any preconceived ideas you may have about farm-raised fish can easily be dispelled after discovering how this pre-historic fish is naturally raised at the park.


Every sturgeon in the world is either endangered, threatened or at least being watched. Mote has developed the technology to be able to grow the sturgeon in eco-friendly systems taking the pressure off the wild population. This method enables Mote to reduce the impact on the environment through water and energy conservation. As you know, Florida is water limited and Mote has put a lot of effort into successfully reducing water consumption. Mote Aquaculture Park is a zero discharge facility from an ecological standpoint. In addition, Mote publishes this information so that other aquaculture farms can benefit. Using this scientific knowledge, Mote researches a number of other marine species, for example Snook and Redfish

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for stock enhancement in Anna Maria Sound and Sarasota Bay. Sport fishermen rejoice!. Once the Siberian sturgeon eggs have reached the point of readiness, they are harvested fresh inside the park’s pristine processing center four times a year. The locally employed staff meticulously screens and inspects the fresh eggs, adding just enough salt to give it a hint of the sea, and to satisfy legal caviar requirements. Once the eggs have been removed, the sturgeon is processed and sold through fish

warehouses to five star restaurants nationwide. The caviar is sent to the finest national caviar houses, a list of which can be found on the Mote website.

What does the caviar taste like, you ask? The small glistening grains of Mote Siberian sturgeon caviar are mild and smooth, with melt-in-your-mouth silkiness; sure to become your velvety favorite. After sampling this tiny yet powerful aphrodisiac, a state of euphoria overcame me. Now I know the reason this delicacy is revered world-wide.


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Get ready to enjoy caviar at home. Go on, treat yourself! Mote caviar isn’t just for that special occasion. Nor do you have to have caviar as it is traditionally served on a light little pancake called a blini and topped with a dollop of crème frâiche; although it is quite tasty that way. Try it on lightly toasted bread or my favorite, naked

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caviar right out of the jar so as not to masque the inherent flavor of the sea! Get playful, experiment to find out how you like it best! Just be sure to use natural material utensils such as mother of pearl (or your finger) as metal will impart an unpleasant flavor to the caviar. The firm-fleshed fish is described as having a mild flavor. Perhaps not of the Anthony Bourdain extreme; nonetheless being an adventuresome eater, I tasted the sturgeon filet grilled and thought the flavor quite distinctive and earthy. If there is a next time, I may possibly sample it smoked. The Siberian sturgeon is tender, flaky, and high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Try it smoked, grilled, sautéed, poached or baked; see what you think. You can ask for the caviar or sturgeon filets locally at Morton’s Gourmet Market, Captain Brian’s Seafood and

Restaurant, Whole Foods Market, Mattison’s Forty-One Restaurant, Verona at the Ritz Carlton, and Ocean Harvest Market and Restaurant. In my experience, Morton’s Gourmet Market easily procured the sturgeon filet after a one day notice, and Whole Foods Market seemed equally accommodating in getting the fresh caviar when I enquired. By importing over 10 billion dollars worth of seafood each year, we are supporting foreign economies many of which have little or no regulation as to how fish is raised or caught. Furthermore, the FDA does not have the resources to inspect each individual seafood shipment to maintain a high standard of quality control. In today’s uncertain economy, it is nice to know that Mote is supporting local businesses and creating jobs here in America in a sustainable, eco-conscious climate.

For more information and recipes go to w w w. m ote. org


Changing the Way You Look at Real Estate

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