In the backdrop of an idyllic sojourn at Painted Boat, reminiscent of a fleeting summer, the desire for more adventure grips a group of friends. Kristine, Leeann, Norma, and a fellow adventurer seek one final escapade on the Sunshine Coast.
Exploring Northern Divine: A Sustainable Caviar Wonderland
Their destination: a private tour of Northern Divine, the world’s premier Certified Organic caviar producer, nestled just north of Sechelt. It is celebrated as one of the top five sustainable caviar producers globally. This visit marks the realization of caviar dreams.
A Glimpse into Sturgeon Life
Situated a short distance from Sechelt, Target Marine Hatcheries conceals a remarkable secret within its colossal tanks—over 200,000 Fraser River White Sturgeon.
From Hatchlings to Giants: Sturgeon Evolution
Recalling the experience of nurturing salmon in a school classroom, this is akin to that, albeit on a grander scale. The tour commences with sturgeon eggs, hatching, and their initial year spent in spacious outdoor tanks. Witnessing these prehistoric creatures up close is awe-inspiring, considering their existence spanning over 200 million years.
Sustainability at Its Core
As these sturgeon outgrow their initial tanks, they graduate to larger circular enclosures, where they can attain an impressive 300 pounds in size. Initial expectations of a simple fish farm are shattered; Northern Divine’s commitment to water reclamation, organic waste composting, and stringent biosecurity standards is evident. Every accolade for organic and sustainable practices is diligently earned.
Majestic Fraser River White Sturgeon
Within these tanks, hundreds of sturgeon thrive. Their formidable size makes them easy to spot, some even surpassing human height. These Fraser River White Sturgeon prefer silty waters, rendering photography challenging, especially with the relentless sun interfering. A video from Northern Divine taken in one of their tanks a few weeks ago provides a glimpse of these majestic creatures.
The Journey to Caviar: Harvesting and Processing
Upon reaching egg maturity, it’s time for harvest. Thanks to Northern Divine’s location with consistently cool water temperatures, sturgeon growth is regulated, ensuring a year-round supply of fresh caviar. The sturgeon are carefully collected and processed. While visitors cannot enter the processing area, sizable viewing windows offer a glimpse of the action.
The Art of Caviar Preparation
Fortunately, today’s sturgeon had already undergone this process, well into egg harvesting. Half of the sturgeon’s ovary is visible, from which approximately 7kg of caviar will be obtained.
From Processing to Perfection: Caviar Preparation
After freeing the eggs from the ovaries, they are rinsed, weighed, and salted to perfection for that unmistakable taste.
Caviar’s Journey Continues: Aging and Packaging
Subsequent to a thorough mixing and meticulous inspection to remove any imperfections, the caviar is prepared for its initial packaging.
However, the journey is far from over at this stage. The caviar undergoes aging, tasting, and, if necessary, further aging to reach the desired flavor profile. Only then is it repackaged into containers for market distribution.
The Culmination of Years of Care: Northern Divine Caviar
From egg to market, this meticulous process can span as long as 13 years. It’s no wonder this delicacy commands a value exceeding most, all produced right here in Sechelt. For those who can’t venture to the Sunshine Coast, fear not. Some of the city’s finest restaurants proudly serve Northern Divine, and dedicated enthusiasts can procure it at Urban Fare. An invitation to the dinner table can’t come soon enough.
A Memorable Finale
This enchanting finale to the summer retreat at Painted Boat and the Sunshine Coast leaves cherished memories and the company of exceptional friends. What more could one ask for? Heartfelt thanks to dear companions, Rebecca Bollwitt, Kristine Carrick, Leeann Froese, and Norma Reid, for being the ultimate Girls Weekend companions!