made in 1991
and 2002. The
processing, portioning, filleting,
well as the company’s smoking
one of the biggest shifts for
Northern Fish in
the last 30 years
is the switch
from direct store
broadline food-service programs.
product to independent specialty
stores, as well
as to restaurants
outside of the
through its Direct-to-Chef program,
chefs to order
fresh fish and
have it quickly
delivered to their
Swanes says that the growing opportunity for independent seafood
markets also has impacted the business. Northern Fish operates
multiple standalone seafood stores that work with local fishermen.
“It’s been really successful for us,” Swanes says.
MAKING THE CUT
Each day at the Tacoma plant begins with a morning production
meeting, where the staff checks product inventory and lays out the
production schedule for the day.
“It’s a big puzzle every morning, but it all starts with making your
calls to our own operating companies or our partners to see what’s
available and to see what’s coming,” Swanes says.
Scheduling can be a challenge because Northern Fish processes a
large amount of just-in-time product that must be delivered fresh.
Northern Fish focuses on providing highly customized product, so
all product is cut to order. “We strike the balance of cutting a lot of
product, but having a lot of specifications,” Swanes says.
Workers at the Tacoma facility skin and cut thousands of fillets per
day — all by hand. Workers must ensure that portions are cut iden-
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