From Stream to Plate: Exploring the World of Wild Salmon - Forman & Field

From Stream to Plate: Exploring the World of Wild Salmon

19th June 2024

As the sole provider in the world with access to the exquisite Wild River Tweed Salmon, we take great pride in our unique supply of this extraordinary fish. What makes this fish so special, and how have we managed to maintain our ability to supply it?

A Brief History

Our history with Wild Salmon stretches back to the very beginning of our business. Since opening our doors in 1905, H.Forman & Son has been a dedicated supplier of Wild Salmon. We discovered the magic that happens when fresh Scottish Salmon meets our smoking process – the result is an incredible delicacy that forever transformed the landscape of fine dining.

Up until the late 1960s, all Salmon consumed globally were wild, caught during the season which mainly runs from May through September. These wild catches were then carefully preserved to ensure supply throughout the year. However, as the demand for salmon grew, the limited supply of Wild Salmon could not keep up.

To meet the ever-increasing demand, farmed salmon was introduced, providing a year-round supply of salmon. While farmed salmon’s popularity continued to rise, the unique flavour of Wild Salmon remained unmatched, keeping the demand for this wild delicacy alive.

In 2016, a significant shift occurred in the world of wild salmon fishing. The Scottish government introduced the Conservation of Salmon Regulations, a legislation that effectively banned the sale and commercial consumption of Salmon caught in Scottish waters. This legislation significantly limited businesses’ ability to sell this remarkable fish.


Forman’s History with Wild Salmon

1943. Wild Scottish Salmon flows freely through Forman’s doors. Pictured below is Louis Forman (centre, in the Homberg hat) with the largest Wild Salmon ever sold in Billingsgate market which weighed 74lbs which he bought, smoked and sold to Selfridges.
1960s- 1970s. All Salmon consumed worldwide was Wild and due to the high pricing, it became a popular Christmas starter as Salmon was considered a treat (Image from Bon Appetit ,1960)
2016 . The Scottish government introduced a legislation named the Conservation of Salmon Regulations which essentially prohibited the sale and commercial consumption of Salmon caught in Scottish waters. (Image from Scottish Statutory Instruments No.115 2016 Policy Note)
lance wild salmon and seatrout
2016. Forman’s becomes the first and only retailer to provide Wild River Tweed Smoked Salmon
wild salmon 16
2024. Every year since then we (along with our customers) look forward to the new season of Wild Salmon and Seatrout to see what wonderful catches we receive.
  • 1940s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 2010s
  • 2020s

What is the difference between Wild and Farmed?

“It is like comparing a Claret to a Chardonnay”

– Lance Forman

Farmed Salmon will have been cultivated in a controlled environment, each having identical feed and activity which allows Salmon farmers to effectively control the quality of all their Salmon. While this ensures a lovely slice every time, it will mean that the fish may lack some of the natural flavours found in wild salmon.

On the other hand, wild salmon are caught in their natural habitats, such as rivers, streams, and oceans. They feed on a natural diet of smaller fish, crustaceans, or algae and are able to swim freely through a variety of ecosystems which results in a leaner fish with a much higher nutritional value, gamey taste that can widely differ from fish to fish.

Ultimately, the choice between farmed and wild salmon comes down to personal preference and priorities, it is impossible to compare the two as neither is better than the other . Whether you prioritize consistency and convenience or prefer a more natural and nutritious option, both types of salmon can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.

Why do we often see Wild Salmon available at the Supermarket?

Wild Alaskan or Canadian Salmon dominates this market as the Salmon caught in the Pacific is less scarce making the fish more readily available and in our local grocery aisles. Do not be mistaken, Wild Alaskan Salmon has a strong flavour and is actually a different breed of fish to wild Atlantic salmon, such as we receive from the River Tweed.  Indeed there are five different breeds of Pacific Salmon and none can be compared to Scottish.   The closest is the King Salmon, also known as Chinook Salmon and smoked it has a rich creamy texture

What visual differences are there between Wild and Farmed Salmon?

Overall, the differences in appearance, texture, and flavour between wild and farmed salmon are influenced by their diet, lifestyle, and environment.

Wild salmon is known for its rich flavour and firm texture, which is a result of their natural diet of small fish and plankton. In addition to their diet, the natural environment in which wild salmon live also contributes to their vibrant colour. The pink and orange hues of wild salmon flesh come from the astaxanthin pigment found in their main food sources.

On the other hand, farmed salmon is typically fed a diet that includes synthetic astaxanthin to mimic the colour of wild salmon. This can result in a softer texture and milder flavour compared to wild salmon. Additionally, farmed salmon may have higher fat content due to their sedentary lifestyle in pens, leading to more visible fat lines in the flesh.

Why is Scottish salmon better than Norwegian ?

The freshness! Scottish Salmon has one glaring benefit that allows the fish to be wildly superior to Norwegian Salmon in regards to taste – their proximity to us. Two thirds of salmon sold in the UK is Norwegian.  It can take up 5 days to arrive at the factory where it will then have to be prepared or cured/smoked , causing it to lose its freshness and flavour during transportation and processing. At Forman’s, we only use Grade 1 Scottish Salmon, which can arrive with us within 24 hours of it coming out of the water and can be dispatched that same day, depending on the preparation required. By only using the freshest and tastiest Scottish Salmon, we can guarantee a flavour profile that is unlike anything else on the market.

Where can you find the best Wild Salmon?

The famous salmon rivers in Scotland were the River Tweed, the River Tay and the River Dee; but sadly all we can source now is from the Tweed.

Why are we the only suppliers of River Tweed Salmon?

Due to fishing restrictions put in place in 2016 by the EU and Scottish Government, it became almost impossible to acquire Wild Salmon in Britain so we were extremely fortunate work with an amazing fisherman on the River Tweed, who is the only commercial fishermen still licenced to net fish in the UK.

The River Tweed, which runs through Scotland into Berwick, is renowned for its pristine waters and strong currents, which provide the perfect environment for salmon to thrive. The salmon caught from this river are known for their exceptional quality, rich flavour, and firm texture.

Why wait? Explore our Wild River Tweed and Alaskan range below

If you would like to know any more information or have any burning questions – why not get in touch with us ? we are the oldest purveyors of Smoked Salmon in the world and have been learning all there is to know about Salmon for over a century. We would love nothing more than to provide you with any answers you are looking for. Additionally, if you would like the chance to try some incredible River Tweed Salmon, let us know and we will be more than happy to add you to our mailing list which will allow you to be one of the first to know when we have a fresh catch coming in !

Fill in the contact form below with your inquiry and we will be in touch.

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