Our story to free smoke salmon! We would cut daily for the smoker, and after we would cut 3 buckets for smoker we would have 3 buckets of scraps, back bones, wings. The scraps would sit in the buckets and flies and bees would swarm the buckets. I would have to run the buckets to the river and dump them in, every time taking the buckets to the Columbia River someone standing by the bank would always get upset with me dumping the scraps. Many times during the day I would do deliveries and run errors and not attend to the buckets until later in the day and the smell would be ripe. I’m lazy and was tired of getting hard time for dumping scraps and the duty of dumping was just and chore. I built a smoker next to stand in Hood River Oregon and told the ladies we will put all the scraps on the smoker and give away for free daily to keep the flies bees away and smell and I wont have to deal with people upset with me dumping scraps and let’s hope giving away free smoke salmon helps with your tips during the day. When we first started to give away scraps many people denied us, so I said force it on them just add to any purchases of salmon. Many people would say no thank you, we would put smoke salmon scraps in the bag anyway and I watched many customers walk away and half way to there car try the smoke salmon stop dead in there tracks turn around and give me, dam that’s good, thumbs up, big smile. It did not take long for the word to spread and many people would come by for the scraps. Chef Andrew Zimmerman bizzar food’s came to visit me and try our free scrap’s he was so delighted in the taste and service our company was doing not wasting food. Chef said Doug this is awesome and as long as you give the scraps away for free I promise you the business will be very successful. I thanked him, and over the years he was right, I appreciated Chef Andrew Zimmermen coming by helping my business it was a blessing his visit. Threw out the day we cut for customers filleting their salmon and always try to give back the bones smoked I feel it makes our operation a little more generous to customer’s. I enjoy the atmosphere of the stand music, the customer’s the ladies taking care of the customer’s me in the back working the smoker visiting with friend’s and giving away free smoke salmon.
We would like to take a moment to appreciate the last year of business for Wild Columbia Salmon. It was a fun, exciting, challenging, difficult, wonderful year. Thanks to about 35 of immensely hard working Native-American fisherman who dip-net day and night, we were able to provide our community with fresh, wild salmon from the Columbia and Klickitat River. Traditional Native American dip-netting is very dangerous, and unfortunately, we lose fisherman every year. This year was no exception. We mourn the lives lost on the river this year and appreciate the hard work of every fisherman. Due to a declining number of fish in the river, we started a month late this year. However, this is the first year we’ve been able to stay open all winter long thanks to our second location in Stevenson, Washington. We spent the summer adding to this new location, building a smoker, putting in stainless steel equipment and a large, 3-door refrigerator that now holds all of our beautiful smoked King Chinook. The fires along the
Columbia Gorge this year took us for a spin. Along with everyone in town, we had to wear masks to avoid smoke inhalation. Because most people were trying to stay indoors, we didn’t get a lot of business during the couple weeks of fire. This gave us extra time to put salmon away for the winter, freezing and smoking extra every day. We also were able to provide the fireman risking their lives to save our precious homes, land, and wildlife with free and discounted salmon to eat and bring home to their families. Currently, our team at Wild Columbia Salmon is
working toward becoming FDA-registered and state-certified to produce and sell our salmon wholesale, which would allow us to sell much more, giving back to the Native American community with our business and support. It’s been an incredible year, and we’ve learned a lot! A huge thanks to our friend, Steve, who hand-built us a new picnic table for our Hood River location, our friends at Lampoei’s Thai Kitchen who have become like family to us, our dedicated employees, and to the amazing communities in Hood River and Stevenson that have
been so welcoming and supportive of our business. Fish on, friends!
autor Bailey McMannies