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Against the Current

Riki Goldstein

In modern culture, there may be no food as quintessentially Jewish as the bagel-and-lox duo. But those Jews who care about the kashrus of their breakfast might be surprised to learn just how much effort goes into the supervision of the pungent pink fish

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

shiur

WILD WATERS What’s he looking for in the deep blue? “We go out to see the feeding of the growing salmon, which are kept out at sea in huge circular ringed nets, constantly swimming against the strong currents”

World-famous [Shetland] Scottish lox, or smoked salmon, as the British know it, has earned its popularity through hard work — literally. “It’s the muscularity of the flesh that distinguishes superior salmon,” explains lox kashrus maven Rabbi Danny Moore, on a short break in his Manchester home between trips to check olives in Morocco and raw ingredients in India. “So salmon farmed in a lake is going to be very poor quality compared to sea-farmed salmon. And the rougher the water in that sea, the stronger the currents the fish have to swim against — and the fleshier and more delicious they’ll be.” 

Moore specializes in Orkney and Shetland salmon. The Orkney Islands are off the north coast of Scotland, in the North Sea, and the Shetland Islands are even further north. “They’re actually located closer to Norway than Scotland, but they still belong to the United Kingdom,” he clarifies. “The waters around the Shetland Islands are the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea — some of the roughest waters around. This makes it the optimum place to breed top-quality salmon, as the fish develop their muscle swimming against a doubly strong current.” 

Working for the Badatz Igud Harabbonim, led by Dayan Osher Yaakov Westheim shlita, Rabbi Moore flies to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe regularly, and speaks a smattering of Bahasa, Tagalog, and Spanish among other languages. For the salmon trip, he flies from Manchester to Aberdeen or Inverness, on the Scottish mainland. From there, a propeller plane with 15 seats takes him to the islands. Both groups of islands are remote and sparsely inhabited by small communities where everyone knows everyone else. The Badatz Igud Harabbonim inspects around 20 salmon farms in the region. 

There’s only one airline that flies this route. “The ticket costs over 500 pounds,” Rabbi Moore says. “The summer season brings some visitors seeking remote vacation spots, but it’s not exactly a popular travel destination the rest of the year. My trip is usually in October. Cold? Of course! Shetland and Orkney are cold all year-round.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha’s Behind the Scenes, Pesach Mega-Issue 5777)

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