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The Best Spoonfuls of Caviar Should Taste Like California


On January 11th, 2019, Alice Waters, Carlo Petrini, and Jessica B. Harris presided over the Good Food Awards at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. The nominees selected from 2,035 entries with 401 products representing 40 states. Sterling Caviar, a sustainable California farm-raised White Sturgeon caviar, was awarded a Good Food Award in the category of fish. Amongst the nominees and winners in the room, there was a shared commitment to sustainable social and environmental practices, continued innovation and demonstrating individual excellence in each product category tied as a common bond. To win was no small feat.

California is home to a diverse community of farmers who produce some of the world’s best artisan wines, cheeses, almonds, and fruit, yet consumers are surprised to find out that some of the world’s best caviar comes from Sterling in Sacramento. Even further, they are known as the pioneers of the industry. Utilizing their unique history, combined with a profound love of their fish and their commitment to sustainability and transparency in seafood, as sturgeon stewardship is part of their mastery, Sterling seeks to educate consumers on the value of their product.

The farmed White Sturgeon at their Elverta farm, among others, is raised in exceedingly pure water that recirculates using an ozonation process that degrades organic pollutants, ensuring the fish begins its life in optimal conditions. Dissolved ozone is highly effective for nitrite reduction and algae control, thus promoting a very healthy habitat for the fish. They are fed a proportionate balance of both land and sea-based ingredients thus generating a more sustainable food supply for wild fish and oceans. Sterling shares the recycled water for different eco-friendly purposes such as creating artificial wetlands.

Of the 27 wild sturgeon species, only the White Sturgeon and the Lake Sturgeon are considered stable populations with the rest listed as endangered, critically endangered or near extinction. Sterling has a had a fully domesticated population of world-class farmed White Sturgeon for over 20 years. By supplying live farmed fish, eggs and tissue samples to biologists at UC Davis, Sterling aids research to increase the wild sturgeon population even further.

The United States consumes upwards of 70 tons of caviar per year with the majority of this supply imported. Sterling can produce up to 15 tons annually. Michelin, Bocuse, and Zagat rated Chefs, consider California farmed White Sturgeon caviar as the gold standard for consumers. In 2018 China shipped more caviar to the US than the rest of the world combined. With their high-volume supply, competitive pricing, a variety of farmed sturgeon species and hybrids, Chinese caviar became a fast-appealing option. Sterling stays competitive by focusing on consumer education, directing caviar connoisseurs to appreciate and look for the farmed California White Sturgeon labeling in their purchasing. They seek to educate buyers to search out farm to table sustainable caviar as opposed to factory style homogeny, and to celebrate natural, diverse harvests which can produce eggs of many different colors, sizes, textures and flavor profiles; reminding us all that American caviar, remains a pure healthy pleasure that belongs in every kitchen. The best wines for discerning tastes give the consumer a peek into the vineyards history and practices as should the best caviar. In a global market, consumers want to know more and more where their food comes from which is why the farmers who pioneered the very industry by being the best stewards in raising the fish is an obvious choice.