Sunterra Seafood Program

Keeping It Reel: A Deep Dive into Sunterra Seafood

By Amanda Philipow

Published January 2023

It’s a new year, and for many of us, the perfect time to start fresh. If your 2023 goals include eating healthier and switching up your food routines, we recommend adding some more fish into your life! With an ocean of knowledge to share, it felt like the perfect time to dive deep into our seafood offerings and give you an inside look.

Like all other departments in our markets, we work with seafood suppliers who share our passion (or shall we say, af-fin-ity) for high quality products, exceptional customer service and ethical and sustainable sourcing. All the seafood we offer comes from one of two local distributors: Fin’s in Sherwood Park which serves our Edmonton locations and City Fish in northeast Calgary which serves our Calgary and Red Deer locations.

Fin’s Select Meat and Seafoods has been a valued member of the community for 25 years and has been working with Sunterra since the very beginning. Their commitment to working with sustainable and federally regulated facilities continues to make them an excellent and trusted resource.

To get an inside look at our seafood selections, we had the pleasure of speaking with one of our suppliers, David Yip, co-owner and co-founder of City Fish, to learn more and get a taste of their origin story. 

In 1979, 17-year-old David and his brother immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in search of new opportunities. After a few years of getting settled, becoming familiar with the Calgary food scene and cultivating their entrepreneurial spirit, the two set out to fill a gap in the local market.

“Back then, fresh seafood was hard to come by in Alberta, so we had the opportunity to learn and start the business,” says David, reflecting on their opening day back in 1986.

The newly established City Fish began by working with a few local restaurants and gradually built their portfolio, which went on to include Sunterra Market beginning in 2002.

As the company grew, David was always sure to hold on to their small business roots and practices, putting customer relationships and product quality at the forefront of his mind.

“I always hold the principle of being number one in quality,” he says proudly. “Being a small business, people like the idea of working with us because we’re more specialized in seafood.”

And he’s right. Focusing their time and effort solely on seafood allows City Fish to be selective with the products they bring in, carefully considering everything from price and value for the customer to environmental impact.

“Ask me about a piece of chicken, I have no idea,” David laughs. “But if you ask me about a piece of fish, I can tell you a whole story about it.”

With over 30 years of experience in the industry now under their belt, City Fish works only with trusted fisheries, most of which they’ve had relationships with for over two decades. Being established in 1994, Fins also has almost 30 years of experience finding the best seafood to serve our landlocked province.

Though these companies import specialty items from overseas like shrimp or the bright orange roughy from New Zealand, most fish they carry are delivered fresh from B.C. and Canada’s East coast. 

Regarding fish availability and peak seasons, it changes every year, but one thing is for sure — fresh seafood is always best in the winter. With colder water temperatures, the fish are fattier, and this extra fat means added moisture when cooking and more Omega-3 fatty acids per serving. It’s these acids in addition to vitamin D and B2, calcium and an assortment of minerals that make fish a great addition to your diet.

Quality is top of mind when choosing seafood, but another criterion of equal importance is sustainability. We receive a wide selection of wild-caught fish from City Fish and Fin’s that are certified sustainably sourced by one of several organizations dedicated to just this. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Ocean Wise both work to protect and restore marine life, ensuring long term ocean health and sustainable food sources by preventing overfishing. With these measures in place, you can be sure the fish you’re enjoying are not only obtained responsibly, but will also be available for years to come.

From buttery scallops to flaky Icelandic cod, the delicious options this time of year are abundant — but we’re especially excited about one in particular: Chinook salmon! Featured in our seafood department this month, this tasty fish is generally considered to be the richest and most flavourful of all salmon species. Organically raised by Creative Salmon in Tofino B.C. and delivered fresh to our markets, it’s a longtime bestseller for a reason. Visit our website to try our Southwestern citrus salmon recipe featuring this fantastic fish!

We’re proud to source our seafood products from businesses whose values mirror ours, and we’re excited for another year of sharing only the best quality fish with our customers through our seafood department and within numerous prepared meal and catering offerings. So, if you’re looking for a healthy, high quality and sustainably sourced meal to start the new year on a high note, look no further than our friendly fishmongers.   

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