Wednesday, Aug 30, 2006

Today is my first “forum” with city interests for the Assembly election. It’s in front of a bunch of unions, so that should show them just how not-ready I am for politics. We’ll see.

Spent 4 hours last night re vack-packing orders to go out. The vac packer is one of the weak links at my processor, and I’ll end up doing at least 1/2 of what they’ve done for me over again. Last year, the unit didn’t seal well. This year, it didn’t draw quite enough vacuum for me when they did some of our fish. The fish are okay and there’s no air leak for now and probably months, but the machine didn’t quite get all the air out to my standars. An untrained eye might not notice, and I’m sure lots of fish is sold like this, but I think that the fish won’t be as good if someone pulls it from their freezer 6 months from now, so I’m redoing it. That way, I sleep better, and if we don’t make it, it won’t be due to poor fish or customer service.

This is one reason I sold the boat and went to this game plan – I can pay attention to stuff like this, and put out a great, consistent product in every order. Unlike last year, screw-ups have gone way down since I’ve taken over packing. As the last person to see our fish before they get to a customer, I’m now attending to be sure people get the right volume they ordered and sure that good looking fish goes in the box. If it doesn’t, it’s my fault and mine only – not someone just punching a time clock.

We’re getting closer to buying a skiff so that I can haul fish next year, and handle them to meet our standards. We’re already out of sockeye and will be out of pink salmon soon enough. Fishermen are NOW calling, after I solicited fish over a month ago, wanting to sell me king salmon next season! We’ll be lucky to get in enough coho this season, particularly if the troll fishery closes early, but we’ll do all we can. We tried buying fish from processor inventories last year when we ran out of our own, and we were not happy with the product quality – it’s fine for the commodity markets, but when you’ve been producing fish to our standards, it’s pretty hard to see fish that have not been pressure bled.

Kind of like my wife and coffee- once she discovered likes espresso and lattes, and can’t ever go back to coffee from the can. Funny thing is, I’m just the opposite – I only like coffee from a can. Anyway, we’ll get all we can and hope I can find work this winter and then roll out our updated business model next spring if we get the boat.

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801
for Juneau Assembly, Oct. 2006
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