Local residents can now enjoy wild Alaskan salmon.
Billings, Mont.,-based Kwee-Jack Fish Co. has opened its Altoona co-op at the Alpacas of the Alleghenies Farm, near Duncansville.
The business was started by Joe Echo-Hawk, who was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and is now a commercial airline pilot living in Montana. He has spent 13 summers in Alaska fishing, initially for another family fishing enterprise. He realized he wanted to make it his way of life, so in 2009 he purchased a license and fishing boat.
Wild Alaskan sockeye salmon are harvested from nets in the frigid waters of the Kvichak River each summer.
“We connect the fisherman in the wilds of Alaska to local co-ops in the communities where we live,” said Anna Echo-Hawk Sauder, regional director for local co-ops in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Sauder said the company, which also has Pennsylvania co-ops in Lancaster and Chambersburg, was asked to start the local co-op.
Bert and Mary Altmanshofer, owners of the Alpacas of the Alleghenies of Duncansville, contacted the company.
“Bert found our website online last year, and he called and spoke with me to get his questions answered about the salmon. He drove 140 pounds of salmon from Lancaster to Altoona last September, but this year we will be bringing salmon to his farm for a community pick up,” Sauder said.
“I drove down and picked up for those who had ordered it. It was just a super way to get salmon,” Bert Altmanshofer said. “I was told by at least nine of the 10 who ordered that they wished they would have ordered twice as much.”
The salmon are sold in 20-pound shares, which in Altoona costs $285 or $14.25 per pound. Each share generally contains 12-18 filets, Sauder said.
Orders for wild Alaskan salmon can be placed online at https://eatwildsalmon.com. The deadline to order is Sunday.
“We harvest the salmon in June and July, transport it frozen by barge and semi-truck in August, and deliver it to the Altoona co-op,” Sauder said.
People can pick up their orders from 5-6 p.m. Sept. 15.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.