farming rainbow troutU.S.-farmed rainbow trout, a mild, almost nutty-flavored fish, is on Shedd Aquarium’s best-choice list for sustainable seafood.

Today more than half of our global seafood supply comes from aquaculture, or fish farms. While many of these operations are not only unsustainable but also a source of serious environmental contamination, aquaculture can also be done “Right Bite right.” And Shedd supports farms that practice environmentally friendly methods.

A recent daytrip to Rushing Waters Fisheries, in Palmyra, Wisconsin, completely transformed my image of one of the fastest-growing food industries in the world. Nestled just outside Kettle Moraine State Park, Rushing Waters farms rainbow trout on an absolutely stunning 80 acres of pristine forested rolling hills.

Rainbow Trout farmWhen the Shedd team arrived, we were greeted by Peter, the farm manager, and his full-time staff members. After a quick bite to eat—of rainbow trout, of course—we were off to help maintain the farm's 56 ponds and raceways. Rushing Waters’ ponds are fed by artesian springs that pump clean, cool water year-round—just what the trout love!

What makes U.S.-farmed rainbow trout so special is that their wastewater is filtered and cleaned before returning to natural waterways nearby. This is a critically important component of a sustainable farm because the neighboring land and water is not polluted. The Shedd team also got a chance to get in the water alongside the fish, helping to move them to a larger pond. Rushing Waters carefully monitors their pond stock to keep it at a low-density. This ensures happy and healthy fish that are not treated with chemicals or antibiotics.

Shedd's vehicle in front of Rushing Waters signAfter getting to know the staff at Rushing Waters, it is clear there are exceptional and ecofriendly farms right in our backyard. You can find Rushing Waters smoked and fresh rainbow trout at Whole Foods Market throughout the Chicago area.

Smoked Rainbow Trout Hash with Poached Eggs
Serves 4

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 lbs. boiled potatoes, cooled and diced
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
1⁄2 lb. smoked U.S.-farmed rainbow trout, flaked into small pieces 
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 poached eggs
1 tbsp. fresh chives, thinly sliced

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Once the butter begins to melt, add the boiled potatoes and cook until lightly browned.
3. Add remaining butter and onions. Sauté the mix until the onions are translucent.
4. Add trout, cream, dill, garlic, and salt and pepper and slowly stir the mix.
5. Continue to stir mixture every 3 minutes until potatoes are golden, about 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Plate the hash and garnish it with a poached egg and freshly cut chives.

Posted by Brook Havlik, conservation