As the world moves towards ethical and eco-friendly practices, more businesses are adopting the term “responsibly-sourced” — wearing it as a badge to show how they voluntary take environmental and social factors into account when conducting company activities.
When it comes to food, responsible sourcing is all about knowing where your food comes from and the practices that contribute to its creation. Which country is it from? How were the animals raised? What kind of working conditions do the workers have? This involves understanding everything from the raw ingredients involved, the practices and environment behind the food’s harvest or production and whether those practices are sustainable in the long term.
Ultimately, responsibly-sourced food aims to ensure that the way food is produced, grown or made does not have a negative impact on animals, local workers, communities or the environment.
The Story of Caviar Overfishing: Why Responsibly-sourced Food is Important
In the 1990s, the popularity and economic value of caviar as a luxurious and decadent food led to overfishing of the Sturgeon fish, reducing their numbers by an estimated 70% over the last century. The issue was so endemic the United Nations (UN) stepped in to suspend caviar production, ban caviar trade and impose strict fishing quotas in several countries until wild stocks could replenish.
Unfortunately, since the ban was lifted in 2010, the price for wild-caught Sturgeon caviar has risen to astronomical levels, leading to illegal fishing that threatens wild stocks once more. The Sturgeon fish is an ancient species that has been on this planet for millions of years, however, their late sexual maturity (6 to 25 years) makes them vulnerable to overfishing.
If we’re not careful, human overfishing and destruction of their natural habitats could cause us to lose Sturgeons and one of the world’s greatest delicacies.
Sturia Caviar: A Shining Example of Responsible Food Practices
While overfishing was taking place, several environmentally-conscious companies were finding a way to successfully farm caviar and make the delicacy more available without harming wild stocks. One of these artisan companies is now France’s leading producer of Sturgeon caviar — Sturia.
The pioneer of Sturgeon farming in France, Sturia was founded over 20 years ago near Bordeaux. The company’s farms in the Gironde and Charente-maritime regions produce around 12 tonnes of caviar a year, which is sold all over the world. But besides the wonderful hazelnut flavour and remarkable sensations of Sturia caviar, it is the way Sturia Sturgeon is responsibly farmed that deserves praise.
It all starts with the condition of the farms. Fed by the natural springs and rivers in Gironde and Charente-maritime, Sturia’s Sturgeons are raised in ponds with high quality water as well as large spaces to feed and grow in peace. The company takes great care to ensure that the environment the fish live in lives up to the highest standards. Factors like the pH of the water, the flow and density of fish in each pond are carefully considered.
Unlike some traditional aquaculture farms where an obscene amount of fish are crammed into a small space to maximise product, Sturia Sturgeon are raised at low densities of 2-3kg/m2 in ponds for their well-being They are fed with granules composed of fish meal, oils, plants, minerals and vitamins. The feed comes from sustainable and quota-managed fisheries and do not contain any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or processed animal proteins (PAPs). The amount of food distributed is calculated daily according to water temperature, weight and appetite of the fish to reduce overfeeding.
Sturgeon were once native to the estuaries of the Gironde, before overfishing and caviar production caused the species to almost fully disappear from its waters. In 1982, fishing was prohibited and a program was launched to repopulate the species. Thanks to the breeding of Sturgeons for the production of caviar, Sturia was able to play its part in conservation efforts and today, Sturgeons thrive in the rivers of Gironde once more.
How Responsibly-sourced Food Can Help Us Eat Better
By making the choice to seek out responsibly-sourced food, you can help contribute to passionate communities of farmers, suppliers and shoppers that care about how food is created at every step of the production chain. This means fair trade practices, ethical working conditions, farming conditions, environmental practices and higher safety standards. At the end of the day, consumers are rewarded with more options for delicious and sustainable food for generations to come without having to throw natural ecosystems off balance.
Fave Fine Food offers Sturia caviar and other responsibly-sourced, artisanal gourmet ingredients to elevate your home dining experience. Treat your palate with world-class ingredients handpicked by Valandra, favourites curated from her experiences working at Michelin starred establishments and as an Inflight Chef for Private Aviation.
We’re on hand for all your gastronomic needs, visit favefinefood.com.