Once upon a time, there were two local fishermen who took pride in their carefully harvested daily catches.
Those two fishermen, Dane Chauvel and Steve Johansen had beautifully preserved fish that were categorized and thrown into the ‘general’ pile of fish at the cannery. This pile of fish also contained stale and mangled bodies, which did not feel right to the conscientious fishermen.
They took it upon themselves to make this different. They sold their best in class ocean specimens directly to the people on the dock!
The result? Local chefs put their orders in, customers waited on the dock, and the demand quickly outgrew the supply.
And there it was—the start of Organic Ocean.
It all began with those two fishermen and their commitment to best practices in harvesting first-class seafood.
Each fish is hand inspected with the senses, from the look and smell, down to the taste. This is a skill that comes with being knowledgeable and responsible harvesters and fishermen. This delicate handling of the fish results in unblemished ocean specimens that are rated best in the world by top chefs and seafood connoisseurs, like myself!
When I asked Dane if his seafood had any health benefits, it turned into a big ol’ laugh fest.
Did you know, the Pacific Northwest is home to some of the best seafood in the world? Our ocean provides the best environment for fruitful and nutritious seafood. Its fresh frigid waters are home to fish with a higher fat content, and this, my friends, is the good healthy fat.
Cold water fish and seafood are rich in omega-3’s (DHA + EPA) and low in mercury. Omega-3’s have anti-inflammatory properties which have been linked to easing inflammation in the body. Having a diet that contains omega-3’s has been known to improve common health concerns such as heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Regular fish eaters are also less likely to suffer from depression. If there’s one key takeaway here, it’s that to live a happier, longer life, eat the cold water fish!!
Now, let’s talk a bit about the name. Where did the name Organic Ocean come from? It stemmed from an unexpected conversation with an eclectic chef who had orange toe nail polish. Just as dazzling as the polish, the company name Organic Ocean came to life.
As for the display of this new name? Dane says, “We take pride in having the smallest marketing budget ever.” It was good ol’ trading that sealed the deal with a local freelance designer: Fish for logo design. This is a solid trade if you ask us, as throughout the 20 year history, the logo has essentially remained the same despite a number of attempts.
As a viable pathway was created for Organic Ocean premium seafood to be enjoyed by more than the professional kitchens they supplied, it became apparent that the home cooks and foodies wanted in on this too.
The inquiries Organic Ocean received in combination with their own research of these online and brick and mortar options, created an avenue where the 2020 pandemic began growing this side of the business in spades. Stay-at-home orders have had many honing their chef skills through sourdough and banana bread to the home cook emerging into making culinary masterpieces with our local fish delicacies.
Moving into the framework of “everyone can enjoy quality seafood,” there was another puzzle piece to be addressed: sustainability including social responsibility. Organic Ocean knew this piece was extremely important. They felt there was no choice to create a packaging system that would ensure the cold chain during non-refrigerated, overnight courier delivery while keeping costs in mind. The solution was time heavy and delayed a nationwide roll out. Organic Ocean wanted to get it right out of the gate and maintain their high standards. They soon identified a recyclable, biodegradable and compostable packaging solution that met all their requirements.
“How about the Covid-19 pandemic?” says Dane. It brought an unprecedented halt on the restaurant industry. As a supplier of the finest sustainable seafood to top chefs in some of the best restaurants in the world, the lockdown had people in their homes. This posed a huge challenge on keeping the viability of the seafood supply chain, including Organic Ocean’s fishers and employees. The strategic question that was discussed was this: What is the new channel to market?
Within a couple of weeks, an online fish market was created. It promised door-to-door delivery of the same seafood that was almost predominantly supplied to the high-end culinary community.
This is called pivoting at its finest!! I love this story of bridging the producer and the consumer. As Dane says, “They generated and distributed value to both.”
When I asked Dane: “What’s your favourite thing about your company?” He responded on freshness and knowing this natural food system contains no pesticides, no antibiotics, no added hormones, no colourants, and no fertilizers.
How’s that for something to be proud of!!
It was recently announced that Chef Clark has joined the Organic Ocean team as their Chief Culinary Officer. Chef Clark received the 2020 Order of Canada for his work in establishing a world renowned program to help businesses and customers identify and purchase sustainable seafood. He has been an Organic Ocean supporter, promoter and cheerleader for years and he’s now working right alongside them.
Honestly, Organic Ocean is seafood done as naturally as we can have it. I am a huge believer in all that they do. Their accolades have me fired up with excitement and what they are accomplishing for the sustainability and conservation of our oceans. They are a Certified B Corporation, a member of 1% for the Planet, they have a spot on the 2020 list of The Top 25 in Seafood Sustainability and Conservation, and they are an Ocean Wise Seafood program member.
Organic Ocean’s mission as you’ve already suspected is to provide the world’s best seafood experience. They are committed to making a positive impact in all areas of their reach—customers, suppliers, employees and their community. This also includes donations to nonprofits and charities for healthy nutritious meals.
“We know that we can do good by being good and that drives us.”
-Dane Chauvel, CEO, Founder and Fisherman
I am thinking about going on an all-fish diet, just for the halibut! Get yours too!!
You can order Organic Ocean’s fresh seafood directly to your door + $10 off your order (or your friend’s door—I’m your friend right?!) here
You can follow Organic Ocean here!