This October, the Marlborough-based New Zealand King Salmon Company launched Ora King, its unique best-of-breed King salmon. Now available to the foodservice trade nationwide and at select finer retail markets, the launch of Ora King is a result of decades of dedication in cultivating the renowned taste, color, and texture inherent in the King salmon species.
The Ora King brand represents the culmination of world-leading, sustainable practices developed by New Zealand King Salmon Company during 20 years of farming in the pristine waters of the South Island’s Marlborough Sounds.
“Our classical breeding program combines 20 years of time-honored husbandry practices and seven generations of King salmon,” says Ian Rolmanis, breeding program supervisor for Ora King. “This has produced over 90 distinct King salmon families, chosen so that only the finest examples of King salmon, with the best culinary traits, are carried forward to subsequent generations.”
“The pure and isolated waters of the Marlborough Sounds enable us to raise Ora King salmon in a natural and wholesome manner, with our seafarms comprising 97.5 percent water space to just 2.5 percent salmon,” says Mark Preece, general manager of aquaculture for Ora King. “We are also proudly committed to humane harvesting techniques to ensure the process is quick, effective, and as stress-free as possible for the salmon.”
A Quality at the Source philosophy is the foundation for raising Ora King salmon. The salmon are nurtured throughout their lifecycle, minimizing stress and fatigue, and are humanely harvested using a percussive stunning method based on the traditional Japanese Ike Jime technique. These efforts to reduce stress result in a minimum release of lactic acid, which along with rapid chilling, help ensure a desirable texture.
Once the Ora King salmon complete their journey to the processing facility, each one undergoes a thorough cleaning, washing, grading, and preparation process. Master Graders, dedicated to Ora King, then review each fish against standards for size, color, and quality. Once approved, an individually numbered Ora King gill tag is attached to allow for authenticity of origin and traceability for customers. The salmon are shipped in the newly designed Ora King carton, a recyclable, insulated container, ensuring delivery in optimum condition to customers around the world.
Being an introduced species, Ora King salmon pose no threat to indigenous wild populations, and their feed is sourced from sustainable, certified GMO-free suppliers. No antibiotics, vaccines, or pesticides of any kind are used as the Marlborough Sounds provide a clean and pristine environment in which to raise salmon.
The majority of Ora King salmon are sold whole or as fillets via seafood distributors to restaurants throughout the U.S. Also available is Ora King Smoked Salmon, a traditional cold smoked salmon that is filleted and pinboned by hand, brined with sea salt and cold water, and slowly smoked for nine hours over native manuka wood.
To date, Ora King is served at numerous, well-respected restaurants and specialty retailers throughout the U.S., including:
Craft (Los Angeles)
Nobu (New York, Dallas, Waikiki, Hawaii)
The French Laundry (Yountville, Calif.)
The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong (Honolulu)
Roka Akor (Scottsdale, Ariz. and Chicago)
Public (New York)
Dean & Deluca (New York)
Waldorf Astoria (New York)
Mitch’s Sushi (Honolulu)
Bull & Bear Steakhouse (New York)
The Lobster Place (New York)
Lure Fishbar (New York)
Chaya Brasserie (Los Angeles)
Fairway Market (locations in New York and New Jersey)
"Ora King salmon is a great product to work with and serve. The consistency and top quality means that I know what I’m getting every time I order it,” says Robin Lee, executive chef at Nobu Waikiki. “Ora King’s vibrant colors practically jump off the plate, and the full flavor profile makes it perfect for many of the dishes we serve at Nobu."
"I'm someone who has never really liked salmon, but I was blown away by Ora King,” says Jude Parra, chef de cuisine at A-Frame and Sunny Spot in California. “It has beautiful marbleing, luxurious texture and impeccable flavor. I wouldn't use any other salmon"
Ora King salmon is available through the following distributors:
Prime Seafood (Washington, D.C.)
True World Foods (New Jersey, California, Arizona, Colorado)
F. Rozzo and Sons (New York)
The Lobster Place (New York)
International Marine Products (California, Arizona)
Aloha Seafood (San Francisco)
Pacific Blue (Los Angeles)
Fortune Fish (Chicago)
Northeast Seafood (Denver)
Diamond Head Seafood (Honolulu)
Honolulu Fish (direct ship distributor)
Seafoods.com (direct ship distributor)
The New Fulton Fish Market – various wholesalers (Bronx, N.Y.)
In a new initiative, Ora King has developed a specialist food service team to interact directly with chefs and the hospitality industry supported by seafood and specialty food distributors in major metropolitan markets throughout the U.S. and Canada.