11/15/2019

Going in for the Kill

Fun Fact: When we eat meat and seafood, it means an animal died.

Ok, so we’re clearly stating the obvious here. But here’s an actual fun fact: The taste, texture, and shelf life of the meat depends on how the animal died.   

The fish we sell are special because they are killed with purpose, inspired by the Japanese tradition of ike jime. This means that our fishermen partners actively kill the fish, typically by spiking the brain with a sharp tool. To take it a step further, some fish benefit from shinkei jime, which is a form of ike jime in which the spinal cord is destroyed with a pithing tool.

Because of this handling, our fish is literally chemically different from other fish. Ike jime reduces the stress on the fish and prevents chemicals from being produced that settle in the flesh, breaking it down over time. In the absence of these chemicals, the fish tastes and looks cleaner and the meat lasts longer. This prolonged shelf life means less product is discarded, which is better for the environment and the buyer’s bottom line. Ike jime is also touted as the most humane way to handle a fish.

Few of us are ever actively involved in the killing of our food, and most of us plan to keep it that way. The act of killing a fish is definitely very hands on and labor intensive, which is one of the reasons we pay fishermen more than they would otherwise get for their fish.

Killing with purpose is also a sign of respect for the animal that gives its life for our sustenance. Not fun. But still a fact.