The Plan to Eat Podcast

#78: Why You Should Be Eating Wild-Caught Fish with Sena Wheeler

March 13, 2024 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 78
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#78: Why You Should Be Eating Wild-Caught Fish with Sena Wheeler
Show Notes Transcript

Sena Wheeler is part of a 5th generation fishing family and the co-founder of Sena Sea, which brings wild Alaskan seafood directly to consumers.  She's passionate about sustainability, helping busy families eat healthier, and educating people about the brain-boosting benefits of wild fish.
In this episode, we talk about the Alaskan fishing trade and how it has evolved over the many generations Sena's family has been involved in fishing. She shares her professional opinions on wild-caught fish vs. farmed fish and we discuss her concerns about fish farming practices. We also talk about how her children are involved in the fishing business and her advice for other parents on how to get kids to enjoy eating fish. Enjoy!

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[00:00:00] to the Plan to Eat podcast. Where I interview industry experts about meal planning, food and wellness. To help you answer the question. What's for dinner. 

Roni: Hello and welcome to another episode of the plan to eat podcast today. I have an interview with Sena Wheeler. She is part of a fifth generation. Fishing family. And she is the co founder of Sena Sea, uh, which is a company that brings wild caught Alaskan seafood direct to consumers. So I got to talk with Sena today about the history a little bit of being a fifth generation Fisher fishermen and a little bit about, their business and what they do.

We talk about. Wild caught salmon versus farm salmon, the sustainability aspects of salmon fishing. Uh, we talk about her kids and how they're involved in their fishing [00:01:00] family, as well as she gives some tips and tricks for maybe how to get your kids exposed to more fish so that they start eating it and loving it.

We also talk a little bit about recipes, how she prefers to cook salmon specifically. And then we talk a little bit about their business overall. So this was a really fun episode. I really loved talking to Sena and I hope you enjoy. Hi, Sena. Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today.

Sena: Thanks for having me. I'm excited.

Roni: Yeah. So let's just get started by having you tell everybody who you are and what you do for a living.

Sena: Well, my name is Sena Wheeler and, um, I am part of a fishing family. Actually, we have been for many generations. So my husband's been commercially fishing for over 25 years. Um, my dad fished, my grandpa fished, my uncle's fished, my great uncle, my great uncle's great grandfather's all on and on and on, all commercially fished, um, coming [00:02:00] from actually immigrating from Norway.

So we have long. history with fishing. And, I, you know, it's interesting because people get kind of like, uh, old fashioned ideas about it. So it's kind of fun to just talk to people about what a modern day fishing family is like.

Roni: Yeah, absolutely. Let's tell me a little bit about that. What, um, what has changed and evolved over the, over the generations of your fishing family?

Sena: Oh, it's actually changed quite a bit in terms of just commercial fishing. So I guess first off we live in Washington state and we fish in Alaska and, um, and that's fairly common. I would say maybe half the Alaskan fishing fleet might. That's just out of my head, might live in Washington. So it's common to live down there and then fish up, up in Alaska.

Um, I would say just in broad strokes when my grandfather fished. So we, we fished on the same old long line boats, like big long line boats, maybe a crew [00:03:00] of five guys. Um, so not that big, but, um, so when my grandpa went out and fish, he was gone for months at a time, they might actually have fished for like.

A month at a time and they're loading the boat so they have all these terms like highliners and and they're really like. Loading up the boat. It's all about coming in with this huge catch, you know, and that has really shifted. So just from the time when my dad has fished, the fishing periods have gotten smaller and smaller as part of the sustainable practices.

There's also been a lot of federal regulation changes. All really in the positive for the fish stock. So we fish all wild and sustainable fishing. So what, what comes from that is you get these shorter fishing periods, whether you're talking longline fish or salmon and the boats come in much faster. So now,

When my dad was fishing, it was a week, two weeks at a time. And I [00:04:00] mean, when my grandpa was fishing, they would just take the bottom and it would be, oh, that's bad. You know, it's been in the boat for a month. It's like, it seems crazy now. So, my dad is down to, you know, a week or two weeks. And now, the way Rich fishes and the way everybody fishes now, we're talking about, um, domestic American small boat family fishing, which people, you know, that's how it happens.

And they're out for a couple of days or with salmon, it's really one day or a couple of days. And then they're bringing in that catch right away. So that catches brought in so much quicker, so much fresher. And that's just a combination of what people want. Um, you know, they're going for a fresh market or, you know, our consumers.

They don't want old fish, obviously, and, and the regulations. So it's just managed much, much tighter. So that's a huge thing. And people like doing what we do. We catch our fish and then we have a processing facility in Alaska. So we catch our fish. We also get fish [00:05:00] from fishermen we know and trust, and then we direct market.

So we sell directly to customers and ship it to their door. So that's the kind of thing, you know, my grandfather or father, they could have never done anything like that. Um,

Roni: like a win, win, win. When situation, right? Like it's, it's better for the fish population, better for the fishermen to not be out at sea for months at a time. And then also way better for consumers to get that fresh fish. That's really, that's really interesting. Cause yeah, my perception of it was that like, Oh, people go out and they're fishing for like five months, you know, half of the year they're out fishing.

So that's really neat to learn. So then do you guys have a cabin or something that you stay up when it's fishing season in Alaska?

Sena: they stay on the boat, so, um, yeah, yeah, I mean, the boat houses, the guys, so, um, for long lining, they, it's kind of these traditional, um, old school bunks that are tiny, you know, that kind of a thing. And then salmon boats, again, I mean, it [00:06:00] changes your, changes the perception. People kind of get these images of the big boats and the giant nets and all of this.

And salmon boats, so salmon is caught at the mouth of the river. Um, so you're, you have land in sight and things like that. And so the, most of the boats, the gill netting fleet that we're a part of the, the boats have one or two guys on them. So they're not real big and they have, um, you know, bunk and they sleep on the boat.

So when my husband's up there, he's up there for six months out of the year, but a little bit back and forth. Um, but they just, they just stay in the harbor,

Roni: Wow, cool. So I know that you guys, um, fish for Copper River salmon. Is that the, is that the name of the type of fish or is that the name of the river that they come from? Or is it both things?

Sena: both, um, salmon is one of the things that I think confuses people about fish and then salmon specifically is you get, there's a lot of [00:07:00] words, there's a lot of names and you know, I throw around Copper River, like Copper River salmon is the best. It is the best. I know it's the best. And then some people are like, Copper, what are you even talking about?

But for salmon and specifically for wild salmon, this is actually a tip off if you, we can talk about wild farm, but if you're looking for wild, a lot of salmon is named for the river and the Copper River is where we catch the Copper River salmon. So it's actually for salmon, it's, it's, uh, I'll probably say this wrong.

It's like a subset of species. So it's actually the species is Copper River Salmon and because they spawned to the same river they were born in. And so those fish have, um, naturally higher omega 3 content. So each fish coming from a different river is like slightly different. And if you're a salmon person, it's, it's like wine, you know, the tour, tour air.[00:08:00] 

I butchered that, but the flavor profile is slightly different based on the river. And that's because it might have, um, different fatty acids. So they always say like the Copper River is, is very big, cold river, very rugged. And these fish have to probably pack on more omega 3s to make their journey back.

And so that's one reason that they think that has the most omega 3s. And in salmon, of course, omega 3s is the fatty acids. It's the healthy fatty acids and they taste good, so it makes it more delicious too. So that's another win win for the Copper River.

Right. I've, I've had Copper River Salmon before. Um, I had a friend in college who spent one of his summers actually fishing for Copper River Salmon for part of the summer, I guess. And, and then one of our local sushi places, for like one week during the year, they get in some Copper River Salmon, that is so delectable.

Roni: It's like butter in your mouth. It's so delicious. Yeah. I was going to ask, what are [00:09:00] some of the things that cause like a higher omega level in fish? Because the, what, what, what's like a typical diet for salmon? Does that influence the amount of omegas that they have as well?

Sena: Yeah. And, uh, you know, after all this time, I should have a really clear diet. But what's funny is these fish are wild, you know, they go out in the ocean, they kind of like eat, uh, whatever micronutrients it is. The Copper River sockeye has this bright red flesh. So it would be great if I was like, yeah, they have more shrimp in their diet, but I don't exactly know.

And it's part DNA. They have. They, they eat the great wild food, whatever they eat, and they come back healthy, red, with great nutrients. It's like magic. We don't even have to go out and do the input.

Roni: Right. Yeah. Yeah. So why don't you talk a little bit about the difference between wild caught salmon and farm salmon and, you know, if there are benefits to both, I mean, I'm sure you're a little biased since you guys do wild salmon, but talk a little bit more [00:10:00] about that.

Sena: Yeah, I am, I am pretty biased. But I think So the, the main difference, the way I think of it is, um, so wild the number one is going to, it tastes better. So, it's out swimming and moving and, eating a wild diet. So it has just the, um, it, it tastes better because it's moving. It's not in like the, the farm fish is in, is in a pen.

So it's kind of a CAFO situation where it's in a pen, it's not moving. Right. So the omega three, omega six ratio is off and things like that. So. The, the wild number one just is going to be firmer and the, the right fats and it just tastes miles better. And then for health, again, it's, it just is a very clear cut winner on health because it's eating a natural diet, um, and moving and swimming and all of that.

So you get the pure waters of Alaska. I know some people kind of like might [00:11:00] imagine. not clean waters, but we're talking about these pure rivers in Alaska and the ocean where, where you don't have civilization, you don't even have deforestation or mining or anything. The Copper River is, very untouched.

Um, and so that affects, it's just like everything affects, right? So those fish are. are definitely, healthier. And the, the omega 3, omega 6 is a ratio is a really big deal. Um, because it's one of those things you can't make yourself and you need to eat it. The omega 3s and the, the farm is like, okay, it has omega 3s, but the omega 6 ratio is off.

So it really doesn't, um, you know, metabolize the same way in your body and things like that. So if you're eating it for health reasons, wild, there's a clear cut winner. And then for For the fish and for sustainability and this part gets confusing because you know farm they'll put sustainable and it's like Okay, what does that mean?

To me is very fishy. [00:12:00] No pun intended but you know the problem with farmed is They're in a closed pen or however it is, or they're not getting, you know, they're not moving around, but then they get a lot of disease. So they're in a close situation. They get a lot of disease, fish lice and things like that.

So then you get this either, I mean, there's, there's, you can get this where they're giving them antibiotics in the feed kind of a thing. Um, and then, I don't know, maybe some says natural, maybe they're not, but then they're giving, the other problem is all of those diseases are affecting the wild stocks.

So I find it, personally, and I will try not to get on a huge soapbox here. The farm, when I hear their messaging, it's like, protect the wild stocks, eat farmed. And it's, You know, the reality is that a lot of the, the wild stocks are declining because of farm [00:13:00] and the it's the farm fish. In, in the rivers or in the areas affecting the wild stock and the, and the wild stocks are getting diseased and it's declining the population.

So you know, that's, I will, I won't go unless you want me to any deeper, but you know, that's part of the thing and, and not to sound like an advertisement, but we fish in Alaska and in Alaska, one of the best things they ever did was from the beginning they did not allow any fish farming in. At all in the state of Alaska.

And that is huge because these rivers are still pristine and they don't have the, the disease and things and the effect on the return. So a Bristol Bay, I think it was maybe two years ago. Um, that's another big salmon return. It's not Copper River. It's another river. But they just had the biggest salmon return in history ever recorded of wild salmon.

And so that's with no fish farming around, you know, so it's like. [00:14:00] We can do this, we can sustainably fish in a way that works with the ecosystem and the fish returning and all of that. Fish farming is actually harming, not the, you know, sustainable fishing, so, so I just find that interesting and it, and it's just worth talking about.

Roni: Yeah, I'm, I'm glad that, you bring up that perspective. It was either one year ago or two years ago, I went to like a big food event and it was all about regenerative agriculture and sustainability and they, one of the things that really stuck out to me about farmed fish, they talked about was, um, the waste by the, you know, waste from the fish and how they keep it in, I don't know, like a different pen or they keep it in some sort of a You know, that I don't really know where they keep it, but they were talking about, you know, essentially those having like leakages and getting out into the ocean.

And it's just so con the waste is so concentrated from the farms that it can really damage the ecosystem. You know, it's different when the fish are all spread out and they're doing their [00:15:00] own thing. But when you have it so concentrated, it's almost like. Comparing, it's almost like an oil spill kind of a thing where it's like, this is, totally detrimental to the population of other fish that are around, um, when it gets out.

So it's very interesting. There's a lot of nuance there. I think that, um, is it, is it well known?

Sena: Oh, absolutely. And it can be spun a little bit. And, you know, this is a time to be talking about it because you can't go back. You know, like Norway used to be all wild salmon and they don't have wild salmon anymore. It's all farmed and, and all farmed. And because, you know, You could blame overfishing, but it's, but I think it's like that combination, right?

Once you've introduced the wild, the farms, your wild stocks are going to suffer. So it's, it's important, I think, just to be proactive. You know, people kind of like, well, the oceans are so big, you know, we, we're trying to change that kind of, oh, it's fine, you know, no, this stuff [00:16:00] really affects.

Roni: Right. Uh, there, are there any other ways to promote wild caught fish other than, you know, Purchasing wild fish, you know, voting with your dollars kind of a thing.

Sena: use kind of the slogan, eat wild to save wild. And just like you said, purchasing wild and eating wild. And, um, and you know, at this point right now, it's more of an investment. Uh, it's going to cost you a little bit more, but it's just like, it's an investment in your health, but it's also an investment in the salmon's health.

And, and my spiel on that is just, you know, for a wild fishing industry, we depend. On those fish to return. So when the, say the Copper River run, you know, they're the most valuable, wild salmon. Okay. So the state of Alaska, do they put mines on the Copper River? No. You know, is there deforestation on the Copper River?

No. Why? Because that's where their most valuable salmon [00:17:00] returns. So all the efforts are in conservation, restoration and things like that. And when you purchase. Wild salmon, you are investing in that. Which is, you know, the returns and so it on the flip side just to be the devil's advocate if we all said, okay We care about wild salmon so much that we're not gonna buy any wild salmon.

We're not gonna eat any wild salmon You know, what happens is number one if we didn't go out and catch it too many fish would actually return where the fishing The, the sustainable fishing is built into the ecosystem now. Too many fish would return and they, and they spawn and die and then they would foul the rivers.

It would go acidic and it affects the future run. So it would, we'd have a huge decrease. But besides that, the, the industry would go, Oh, this species is, You know, not monetarily valuable anymore. [00:18:00] These rivers aren't producing this valuable salmon or, or we don't get paid for this salmon. It doesn't matter anymore.

You know, in our modern world, it's like, it has to matter in a, in an investment kind of a way. And it would be like, Oh, well, yeah, I guess we'll just chop down these trees and throw up some mines. You know what I mean? That's kind of a vulgar way of saying it, but I feel like when you're purchasing the wild salmon and saying, yes, I, I, this is important and valuable.

You're putting money into the whole system that supports the wild salmon, if that makes sense.

Roni: Yeah, that's a great thing to mention. I, I like that you mentioned that, as humans, we are, we are now built into the ecosystem. I think that's a really easy thing to forget that, you know, we are, we are still a part of this and the role that, you know, fishermen play in the life of the salmon is, is really important as well.

Sena: It's interesting.

Roni: It is really interesting. Yeah. Do you, uh, go up and go fishing at all anymore? Do you mostly [00:19:00] stay in Washington?

Sena: Uh, we get up, so we bring the kids. So a big part of, um, especially switching to salmon fishing, my husband was on, um, the long lines, a little bit bigger boats, but the real interest for us in getting involved in, in salmon, especially Copper River is, it's more of a family oriented fishery where you're going out, like I said, for smaller times, you're on a smaller boat.

So we have a boat that we can fit our family of five, barely, tight. And we go up, and bring the kids as much as we can. So it used to be six or eight weeks, and now we have teenagers and they're doing all kinds of things. And so it might be two weeks and, but they get out on the boat and they know what to do.

And, it's been, uh, for us, to be able to teach the kids how to fish and, and to do it respectfully. And that's a big part for us. We're on the boat, we're, we're catching the fish, we're eating the fish and how to handle the fish respectfully and, and things like that is, is that's our roots. [00:20:00] And that's incredibly.

important and also very fulfilling for us. So, that's been really cool. And, and I think, you know, no matter how much time, you know, okay, it's a little shorter this year, golly, you know, we still get up there and we still do it. And the kids, it's one of those things like. Sometimes a road trip, it can be like this, you know, during the time you're kind of like close quarters and not every moment is super fun, but afterwards hearing the kids stories and the way they talk about it and they'll talk about Alaska and they'll write little assignments and it's like, yeah, it's worth it.

Roni: That sounds awesome. Oh, wow. Are any of your kids now that they're teenagers, are any of them interested in continuing to be a fisher, a fisherman as they grow into adulthood?

Sena: Our son is 18 and, he's fished, um, you know, well, forever with his dad. And he has started going out on a few other boats with other, other people that we know. So that's nice. I mean, it's, it's [00:21:00] kind of neat for him to just see how other people do things. You know, it's not always the way your dad does it.

So that's been kind of fun for him, but really at this point for him, we see it as a way he'll probably put himself through college, you know, fishing in the summers and things like that. And then we'll just see what he wants to do. So we're, we're pretty low pressure on the whole, like you must carry on the torch kind of a thing, but, um, you know, it's enough for us to know that he's had an hand on it and, uh, you know.

He will always know how it's done. And I say he, but we have two daughters also, and they've always, they've fished and been on the boat too. Our middle daughter is, um, I have a degree in food science and I've worked in, in food, and so she loves the food aspect. And she said right away, she, you know, she's not super into the fish and all of that.

She said, I'll be the cook. And so I said, all right. I mean, she was about eight and I said, that's fine. You got to work on some recipes. I [00:22:00] mean, you got to at least be able to make some pancakes. So she right away went, okay, that's for me. And so she, she's the cook and she does, she does really good. And our youngest.

She's, she's out there on deck, you know, we have some moments where it's an open bow. And so you're out, you can drive from out in the bow. It's very, you know, it's very, um, you're, you're in the waves and you're bouncing and the spray and, and it's fast and, you know, I look out the window and there's our youngest out there with her dad, her, her red hair flying, you know, she's got this look on her face like, yeah. My husband goes, Oh, I think I found my deck hand. so we'll see, you know, what they have in it. And I growing up didn't think that I would be involved in fishing this way. You know, I got my master's in food science. I did study fish and omega threes, but. But that was even on accident. It was just like, yeah, I know fish.

I can do this. [00:23:00] And then I didn't think I would do what I'm doing now. And so, you know, it's funny how it creeps back on you. We'll just have to see.

Roni: Yeah, that's awesome. I imagine that it's a really good introduction to working hard and like working together. And I mean, like you're even saying, you know, your eight year old daughter wasn't necessarily interested in the fishing aspect. And so, you know, she had to find a way in order to contribute on the boat.

Do you find that, putting your kids in those kinds of situations has affected other areas of their lives?

Sena: Oh, for sure. I think for sure. It's, it's a big attitude thing. You know, you're on the boat. You don't get to have a temper tantrum and like storm off and slam a door. You know, we're all here and we're gonna figure it out or you know, it's gonna we're gonna go through it Not around it kind of a thing and so I think that that mental toughness of like we have a job to do one of my [00:24:00] husband's big mottos is be a part of the solution, not the problem.

So if you're just talking about the problem, then that's not helpful. Let's what's the solution. Let's figure it out. And I think that's kind of that kind of an, an attitude. And then another of our kind of mottos, because there's also an aspect where, um, rich is leaving and we're home too. So we have that, that play too.

And so a lot of things at times I say, when, when times get tough, you know, we come together. And that's, that's another kind of a motto and that's kind of on the boat or when, when Rich is gone and it's like, Hey, this is tough. We're not going to infight, we're going to reach out to each other and go, Hey, I'm struggling right now, you know, instead of pulling hair or whatever.

So I would say for sure those times have been really, really important to us.

Roni: I love that. I love that you guys have such a positive, [00:25:00] positive outlook on that. I really like that. We're going to go through it, not around it. And I'm sure that is. Especially important when you're on the boat, because I imagine there are certain points in time when you're like, you know, we only have a, we only have a certain amount of time to, you know, bring the net in or whatever the thing is.

And like, you can't be thrown a temper tantrum right now because we got work to do.

Sena: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Figure it out and bring in the net.

Roni: Yeah. So continuing to talk about your kids, I'm, I'm assuming that your kids have probably been exposed to eating fish for their whole life. But do you have any advice for parents who are like, yeah, my kids are not fish eaters. Like how could they get started having their kids start to eat some more fish?

Sena: yeah, I do. Yeah, exactly. People are always like, well, of course, your kids eat fish. It's like, well, yeah, they do. They, they were introduced to fish very early. And I think that one of the best, you know, and highly recommended things I say is because we have a positive attitude around fish. So I don't put it on their plate and go, [00:26:00] yeah, you're probably not going to like this.

Just take one bite, you know, or any of that kind of, um, you know, what. We're not putting a lot of negativity around it, obviously. And for us, it's like, you know, there's this deep connection, but, but they've just been eating it all along. So they never realized like, you're not supposed to eat fish or like fish, you know, but they also, I, I feed them a lot of vegetables too, and I use the same practices.

I, um. I would say for people that are, that are struggling or just keep up with it. So it's a lot like vegetables, just keep putting it out there, switch it up, change the variety. There's actually tons of types of fish. There's salmon, there's halibut, there's black cod, there's ling cod, there's regular cod.

I mean, they're different and they taste different. Plus there's tons of recipes. I mean, I don't hit every time. I, you know, sometimes I put, I cook something and the kids are like, Oh, yeah, it's not that good, mom. Okay, well, it's what's for dinner, so we're eating [00:27:00] it tonight. But, you know, I just, I can tell when they kind of like something a little bit more.

I'm just kidding. One of our dinner time conversations, you know, politeness around the table. I actually, one of our rules is, What, what you like and dislike is actually not polite conversation at the dinner table. That's kind of a personal opinion that you can keep to yourself. I'm like, it's actually, it's actually nobody else's business or nobody actually really cares.

If you don't like it, move it to the side and eat something else, you know, just, it's not like, and I don't keep a running list in my mind about like, Oh, this kid doesn't eat mushrooms and this kid eats this and doesn't eat that. I just ignore it. And I cook it all different ways. Like the vegetables, like I said, and if they don't eat it today, they might eat it tomorrow, especially if I don't make a big deal about it.

So I would say a lot of variety, a lot of switching it up. And just because they didn't eat the salmon that one time, you know, [00:28:00] put it in the fish taco or do the teriyaki thing. Um, there's a lot of kid friendly recipes. We do one where we, um, it's like skinless, take the skin off and then cut it into chunks.

So it's kind of like nuggets. And then we just pan saute it. Um, you know, a little garlic salt, salt. things like that. And then you can put a little dipping sauce in it. And so for kids, it's like you can pick it up and dip it. And, um, we've always found, you know, kids love that. The other thing is I say high quality fish and that's not just because we, we sell the very best, but it could be, you know, some of that fish at the grocery store doesn't look that fantastic.

And some of the farm fish, I, I'd never, when I was growing up, I did not know what people meant by the term fishy fish. When people said, is that fishy fish? I don't know. What is. It's fish. Like, I don't know what you mean. And then I was at a banquet and I had farmed salmon for the first time in my [00:29:00] life in my twenties and I was like, Oh my gosh, this tastes fishy.

I now know what you mean. And so, um, buying the high quality fish, trying it different ways. And then one main thing is don't overcook it. Um, if you dry out the fish, it doesn't taste that good. And, and I find. that kids are very affected by texture. They like the moistness. So we eat a lot of, I feed, um, I love to feed kids fish, like my friends, they're friends.

And when the, when people come over, we entertain quite a bit. And I love to surprise parents by giving them fish that they love. And I often cook, black cod or sable fish. It has very high omega 3s. It's very healthy, but it's so moist. It's so buttery. The texture is like butter. It just melts in your mouth.

And I find that kids really like that moist, it's easy to eat. It does not, not all dried out.

Roni: Yeah, different, uh, different story from just like the [00:30:00] fish sticks that you get out of the freezer aisle.

Sena: Yeah. Yeah. Branch out.

Roni: Yeah. Yeah, what's your personal favorite way to either cook fish or to eat it? Or maybe salmon, salmon specifically.

Sena: Salmon specifically. So I will, I often, I pull out salmon, so I, I don't like it to sit in the refrigerator. That's the one thing that I find can kind of degrade the quality. So we, all of ours is frozen. I put it in, in the package, we have it by portion. So I put, I count heads, how many at dinner tonight, put it in the water and let it defrost for half hour, 45 minutes, and then pull it out, rinse it, pat it dry with a paper towel, and that's important for fish.

Pat it dry, and then I salt it. Lightly, I'm not trying to like overdo it, but it's just like meat. That salt comes, kind of comes in, does a little osmosis and does a nice little flavor thing. So that's just like, no matter what I start [00:31:00] there. And then for salmon, what I'll often do is I just, um, I just do a little, a drizzle, a marinade, so I might do olive oil or maybe some butter and, um.

You know, a little lemon, maybe a splash of like, uh, I have a white balsamic vinegar. I find it super good. And then I just chop up something green might be whatever's in the fridge. You know, I might have, um, green onions or scallions or, or parsley or, um, something like that. And I, and put that in a little bit of garlic.

So, I mean, for fish, I think lemon. Garlic, butter, or olive oil is kind of a magic combination. Um, but anywhere from there, I don't measure and I just kind of put it in. I just, I taste it, a little salt. And I'm just really putting sort of a, you know, a flavorful drizzle on. And then I might, um, put it on the barbecue or in the oven. 350 for maybe 13 to 15 minutes. And I, I leave the [00:32:00] center just, uh, just a, a hair translucent. Um, all of our fish is frozen. So the key, the key on not, if it's been frozen, you can eat it raw. It's frozen for the proper time and temperature. So all, all of ours is, you know, frozen commercially grade frozen.

So it's a proper time and temperature. So if you're, people have this idea that like sushi or eaten raw should be coming straight out of the ocean. And that's actually It's frozen so that there's no parasites or anything like that. And then if you're eating that frozen fish, you can have, you can leave it just a little bit undercooked in the middle and feel okay about it.

Um, because it's sushi quality.

Roni: hmm. That's really interesting. I didn't realize that. Mm-Hmm.

Sena: a, it's a big misconception on that fresh frozen sushi quality.

Roni: I like how simple you make that. And I know that, you know, from, from, I mean, I live in Colorado, [00:33:00] so it's, uh, we don't often at like grocery stores and stuff, it's not like super common to have a high quality fish around here. Um, but so I know from experience though of having high quality fish versus. Not so high quality fish that you can keep a fish recipe really simple because particularly high quality salmon is so flavorful that you really don't need a whole lot else in order to like elevate the dish.

You know, you kind of, it's like when you have a really yummy steak, you're like, I don't want to put too much on this because I actually enjoy the flavor of this meat. Yeah.

Sena: Yeah. I think it's a lot like steak that way. And, and it's funny people, again, they get kind of like, Oh, I've spent, you know, some money on this. I don't want to screw it up. They might go for a more complicated procedure, but it's, it's like steak. If you bought a really nice steak, you're going to just like do less salt and pepper put on the grill, you know?

So it is like that totally. And you just want to let the flavor shine.

Roni: I want to know a little bit about how, how it is to run a business [00:34:00] with your husband. Uh, is this, uh, is fishing, the fishing and the packaging is the, the, like the only business that you guys run, right? You're not like doing multiple other things. You're not like also a teacher or anything like that, right?

Sena: We're, we're all in on the fish thing. It, it breaks down to be several businesses the way we do it and very complicated.

Roni: Yeah, I bet.

Sena: But we're We are both full time fish. This is what we do. So, um, he, it's very interesting and, and Rich and I are very different, which, which helps, I think he's, he's kind of the, um, the visionary and I'm kind of the, the, okay, well, how do we do it? You know, I'm the logistics person. Um, he catches the fish and then, um. We didn't have the processing plant in the beginning. We, we, he caught the fish and then we had it processed at a facility. And [00:35:00] then, and then I sell it online and do the packaging and shipping. So I think I kind of joke in the, in our email, like he takes care of everything out at sea and I am the boss on land. But, since then, actually we, we purchased the processing facility where we cut our fish and that's just because, We had to, because a big, a big processor would buy it, this little thing, just, and then, these, the big processors, they won't cut for people like us, you know, small scale, you know, you, you cut your own fish, you get your fish back, that kind of thing, and so we kind of did it, like, okay, this is the only way, and we, and we, You know, that's a whole nother story.

So basically he runs the processing facility, Annie Fishes, and then I do the online stuff and pack it out from here. So I think that, depending on the day, we work pretty well together, I think, and really, kind of keep to our, we try to keep to our, um, strengths. Being so different. [00:36:00] He's the more of the people person and he has all Wholesale customers and people that he communicates with and they talks on the phone with them and he he lets them know what's up and they you know place an order and things like that and I'm like Order online and I will pack your box And I do, you know, I do a lot of my personal communication through email and I do have people that call me and things like that.

I'm more of a streamlined. So I want to make things into a process that's going to be repeatable and a little more efficient and. And he is a real people person and, and every time he does something, he's going to do it a little bit different.

Roni: I totally identify with the, those introverted tendencies of, you know, send me an email. That sounds great. Well, this has been a really lovely conversation. Do you feel like we covered all everything you did? Was there anything we missed that you wanted to talk about?

Sena: Well, I will say for one thing, I love the title of your [00:37:00] podcast and the whole idea of you just need to plan to eat. It is something that we do three times a day.

Roni: Yep.

Sena: it's amazing how much, you know, we want to act surprised every single time dinner rolls around. I'm the same boat, but if a little bit of planning does help a lot.

And I would say to that end, um, we, we, you can order on one time. on our website, but we also offer a subscription box and really the big concept behind what we're trying to do is we're trying to get, you know, premium quality fish that people will love in their hands in a way that's really easy and totally doable.

So we have this subscription box and you get the box every, you know, one, two or three months, the size that works for you, you know, how much you will eat. And I like to. You know, tell people if you have the fish and it's in your freezer, you will eat more of it. I promise you, you will get comfortable with it.

You know, like that's the hurdle. [00:38:00] Just, just get it, get it to your door. You will get it and you'll go, Oh God, what do I do? You know, but you'll do it. It'll be great. And then you'll repeat and a little bit of planning there, like you're saying, you know, it's like, you can do this. And that's a big part of what we do and jump on our email list.

Cause that's kind of a lot of my messaging is, Hey, I know it's uncomfortable for people, but you can do this. You can learn to cook it. I promise. And you'll eat more if you have more.

Roni: That's great. I love that message. And just to, you know, shout you out a little bit as well. You have a ton of recipes on your blog and on your website. So I'll make sure that we, that we link directly to the recipe part of your site so that anybody can find those recipes. I saw some like really, like you do some really amazing recipes on there.

So good job with that.

Sena: Thank you. I appreciate that. Well, it's the, the number one question we have is how do I cook it? And then people go, no, not how do I cook it? How do you cook it? As you know, this multi generational fishing family. So that's [00:39:00] fun to do.

Roni: Yeah. That's great. Okay. So on that note, why don't you tell everybody what your website is, where they can find you, where they can order all that kind of stuff.

Sena: Oh, perfect. Um, we are at senasea. com S E N A S E A and come online, check it out. And I And I really love people to jump on our email list. Um, I think you'll see a pop up and you'll, and there's a 10 percent off. So jump on, get on the list. That's really where I do a lot of, communicating and a lot of teaching and, and helping and sending recipes.

And then, from there, you'll see the links and you'll, it'll all be easy and you'll purchase, you'll subscribe and you'll love it.

Roni: That sounds great. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. This has been really nice.

Sena: Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Roni: Thank you as always for tuning in. And per usual, there will be links in the show notes to Sena Sea's website, as well as to those recipes that Sena makes. You can sign up [00:40:00] for her email newsletter from their website. And follow them on Instagram, all of the good stuff. You can find that in the show notes you can support the Plan to Eat podcast by leaving us a rating and review on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and audible. And I will see you again in two weeks. Thanks for listening.