Ora King Salmon is heralded as “New Zealand’s seafood version of Japanese Wagyu beef”, farm raised Ōra King Salmons have only recently been introduced into the United States. Only a handful of salmon farms in the world produce King Salmons in aquaculture. Specially bred and meticulously raised, Ōra Kings are available a year-round, fulfilling menu demands without the seasonal harvest limitations of their wild-caught brothers.
Ōra Kings are named for the native New Zealand Maori word “ora” which translates to mean “fresh” and “alive”. Raised by the King Salmon Company (the largest global producer of farmed Kings), Ōra Kings are a product of decades of specialized breeding designed to produce an “ultra-premium” line of superior quality Kings. Over 18 years of classical breeding programs spawned over 90 distinct “families” of salmon – with full trace-ability for every individual fish that goes back over 5 generations. Ōra Kings are the final, superior outcome of this lineage, displaying the most vibrant color, highest natural oil content, marbleized fat lines, and largest grow-out sizes.
The rearing of this fish begins in inland, spring-fed hatcheries. In less than a year, the smolts are transferred to the cold, fast running waters of Marlborough Sound, where they are raised to harvest size in sheltered deep water bays. This process is designed to emulate the life cycle of the species in the wild – from fresh water to salt. They have extremely low stocking densities – a mere 2% fish to 98% water ratio – allowing them maximized movement in a healthful and monitored environment. Their feed is comprised of fully traceable ingredients with a minimum of fishmeal, with adjustments in the formulas as the animal matures. No GMOs, hormones, vaccines, chemicals or antibiotics are applied to either fish or feed.
Ōra Kings are the same species as Wild King Salmons found in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Also known as Chinook salmon, Kings represent less than 0.5% of the world’s total salmon population* – but are the largest of all salmon and the fattiest, boasting the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. They are further distinguished by have the largest scales, but their flesh is considered softer and more delicate than other salmons such as the Atlantic and Coho. The flavor and texture of King Salmon is full, rich and pronounced with a buttery, almost silky texture and large, soft flakes.