Celebrating 38 Years of Sustainable Aquaculture and Sturgeon Preservation
Farming sturgeon is a commitment to raise the fish with no impact on wild stocks. This is done in a controlled environment where all inputs are strictly monitored and accomplished in a sustainable manner. In the controlled environment of our farms, using pure water and fed a nutritionally balanced daily diet, our sturgeon do not need to forage for food as they do in the wild. Thus, we ensure that the fish are being raised in optimum conditions. There is no use of hormones to raise the fish and our production is strictly regulated and enforced by the Food and Drug Administration as well as other inspecting agencies. Our whole production cycle is under our control and does not use any outside resources such as fish from the wild. Beginning with spawning our own fish by incubating the eggs for a week before the baby sturgeon, known as fry, are hatched. We grow the fish to about three years of age, by which time they are about 20-25 pounds in size each. At this point, using ultrasound technology, we identify which select females we want to keep for another five to ten years to produce caviar. When the select fish have matured, a smaller population are ready to produce roe for caviar. Those whose eggs are determined to be of the proper quality in order to produce premium quality caviar worthy of the Sterling Caviar brand are separated and processed into caviar. The remainders of those females continue to grow and are checked each year thereafter if they are mature and processed into caviar.
When the fish have matured to a point of being ready to produce eggs, we begin the very detailed process of handcrafting what you will enjoy as Sterling Caviar. The caviar from each fish is graded individually by tasting a sample to ensure great flavor, texture, and mouthfeel. The caviar is also graded by the size and color of the egg itself. Salting and aging is necessary to reach its optimum quality. If all three of these characteristics – proper size, firmness, and taste – are met, and if the eggs are very light in color, they are called Imperial. If they are darker in color, they are called Royal. For either one of the grade categories, the product is guaranteed to be of superior quality and can be served any place for any occasion.
Tins are then stored at 24-27 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to -2 degrees Celcius) to develop the rich robust flavors. It takes at least three months for the best flavors to develop in caviar. Once mature, the flavors mellow to be rich, smooth and palate pleasing. It is similar to drinking grape juice and comparing it to wine, a transformation takes place in that three-month period when the caviar is held at these low temperatures. The caviar does not freeze in temperatures between 24 and 32 degrees F because of the salt content.