Hudson Valley Fisheries First NYS Grown and Certified Aquaculture Center
HUDSON, NY – October 22, 2019 – The Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) has announced the participants in the third class of its Farm and Food Funding Accelerator (FFFA) Program. Nine farmers and food entrepreneurs were selected from a wide field of applicants to join the intensive FFFA program beginning in November.
Through a customized program, FFFA participants will engage in expert instruction, one-on-one counseling and technical assistance, group interaction and industry networking events to learn how to build their sales in anticipation of speaking with investors, discover new market opportunities, and pitch to potential funders. The FFFA program will conclude in spring 2019 with an opportunity for Peer participants to meet New York City and Hudson Valley-based funders that are seeking to invest in ventures that support the local food system.
Hudson Valley Fisheries Becomes First Aquaculture Farm to Carry the NYS Grown & Certified Seal
HVADC Client is First Seafood Producer in the Program Representing the Hudson Valley
HUDSON, NY – MAY 10, 2019 -- The New York State Grown & Certified program has expanded to include New York aquaculture, and Hudson Valley Fisheries (HVF) of Hudson, N.Y. has received the first Grown & Certified designation in the aquaculture segment. New York State Grown & Certified promotes New York's agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards.
The addition of aquaculture farms and also wild caught fisheries to NYS Grown & Certified expands the program’s promotion of local seafood. In January 2018, the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets had announced the participation of several Long Island shellfish growers. Other than HVF, all of the other 21 seafood producers participating in the program are based in Suffolk County, on New York’s Long Island.
HVF operates North America’s largest land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) for steelhead trout. Its 1200 metric ton, 160,000 square foot indoor aquaculture facility currently produces over ten thousand pounds of nutrient-rich New York Steelhead weekly. With complete egg to plate transparency, the facility serves customers from New York City to Boston and Philadelphia, offering delivery of head-on, gutted 6.5-pound steelhead within 48 hours of humane harvesting; filleted steelhead is also offered. Steelhead is a species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries in the Pacific, also known as rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). At full capacity, HVF could produce more than 2 million pounds of steelhead annually.
HVF CEO John Ng said that a concern over depleted wild fish populations and contaminated farmed fish supplied led to the creation of HVF. “Our New York Steelhead is one of the healthiest, most versatile, sustainable and delicious kinds of seafood. Land-based aquaculture is the answer to our rapidly eroding wild fish populations and ecosystems, and Hudson Valley Fisheries offers a smart approach to keeping up with the increasing demand for healthy, fresh, quality, affordable, traceable, and local seafood options.”
As the world’s most consumed seafood, wild salmon has been overfished, leading to an increase in sea-pen salmon farms which have been associated with detrimental wildlife and environmental issues and raised concerns over consumption of the seasonal fish. Land-based aquaculture, conversely, provides a controlled environment with RAS technology which consistently cleans and optimizes water conditions prior to recycling water back through to fish. Low water requirements in RAS allow up to 95% of water to be recycled.
Ng worked with Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation’s technical assistance program (HVADC) to establish the fish farm. Todd Erling, Executive Director of HVADC said “Hudson Valley Fisheries is a perfect fit for the NY Grown & Certified program, which operates under the premise of certifying food safety from birth to market, and environmental responsibility. Their contained and bio-secure model basically eliminates the need for antibiotics, vaccines, and hormones, and it’s a sustainable system, as RAS recovers waste products like feces, uneaten food, and CO2 so that they may be used to supply nutrients for future HVF vegetation production in an onsite aquaponics system.”
"Hudson Valley Fisheries established roots in Hudson, NY because of the area's association with artisanal food, purity and quality," explained Ng. "This was a choice we are very satisfied with for a variety of reasons beyond the cache of the Hudson Valley. It enables us to maintain a small carbon footprint in terms of Northeastern delivery, to leverage sophisticated restaurant relationships where chefs care deeply about sustainably and responsibly sourced ingredients and to be a part of the New York State Grown and Certified program which supports and celebrates the best of the Empire State's agri bounty. We are very proud to be NYSGC's first seal recipient for aquaculture farming and have already seen the impact of an association with NYSGC's stamp of approval at the International Seafood Expo in Boston."
In addition to a commitment to food security and environmental stewardship, HVF is committed to its community and enhancing the local economy through hiring practices and educational programs. Currently HVF serves as an aquaculture teaching facility for Cornell Cooperative Extension, Culinary Institute of America, SUNY Cobleskill, and Columbia County Community College.
In announcing the expansion of the program, State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said “The New York State Grown & Certified program is continuing to grow to include a number of commodities, including our latest addition of seafood producers. The program provides our farmers and our food businesses the opportunity to brand their products with a seal that assures consumers they’re buying local and that they are buying products that are grown or sourced responsibly.”