By: Kimberly Williams Brackett (view original article)

Q: I read that Idaho produces 75 percent of the trout in the nation. Is it available fresh and frozen in our local stores?

A: “Any local retailer could carry our product but that is a decision of the seafood buyer for the retailer,” said Cally Grindstaff, VP Corporate Relations/Organizational Development for Clear Springs Foods, Inc. in Buhl.

Leo Ray, president and owner of Fish Breeders of Idaho, agreed that customers should ask for local fish in their grocery store.

“We sell retail at our processing plant at 18374 Hwy. 30 in Hagerman,” he said. “Stop in and buy some good trout.”

Clear Springs products most generally would be available in the fresh fish counter area of the store, Grindstaff said.

“Customers could make a request to the fresh fish manager at their favorite local retailer,” she said. “We do have frozen product available at Smart Foodservice Cash ‘n Carry in Twin Falls. Our products are also available via Omaha Steaks. Additionally, our products are occasionally available via some of the on-line meal kit providers such as Sunbasket.”

More than 70 percent of all rainbow trout raised in the U.S. is grown in a 30-mile stretch along the Snake River in the Magic Valley. Clear Springs, the world’s largest producer, is responsible for about 60 percent of this total, processing over 20 million pounds a year.

“Clear Springs is an employee owned, vertically integrated food company that markets its rainbow trout products throughout the country,” Grindstaff said. “The majority of trout raised in the country is produced here in the Magic Valley due to the abundance of pure, natural spring water. Products are shipped on the day of the pack and transported on the company owned trucking fleet to retail customers and food-service distributors throughout the country. Deliveries are made to regional retail food chains and distributors on a twice per week basis where it is displayed and available for consumers in the fresh fish counter of retail stores. Clear Springs enjoys an excellent reputation in the food industry and products are available to all retail food outlets. Additionally, products are available for consumers at various food-service establishments across the country.”

“Locally, customers can enjoy our products at Jakers Bar and Grill in Twin Falls, The Pioneer Saloon in Ketchum, and the Cracker Barrel restaurants nationwide just to name a few,” Grindstaff said.

According to Idaho Preferred, Idaho is the No. 1 trout-producing state in the U.S., growing more than 70 percent of all farm-raised trout. Sturgeon meat and caviar, tilapia, and catfish are also raised in Idaho.