Tropical Fish at 20 Below

Fish Tank

Photo by Rolf Hagberg.

You can close the schools, but you can’t get it cold enough to stop Francois. Our fantastic French  foodie farmer is now a phenomenal fisherman as well—or at least a fishery manager. We’ve been trying to get our semi-indoor, semi-outdoor aquaponics system set up for a couple of years now, and as these photos prove, we’re really getting close. We’ve gotten the 4500 gallon fishtank in our hoop house sealed tight so it won’t leak (lesson learned: choose your material carefully and also don’t drop a tool in it from eight feet up). Last week, we filled it with water. Soon, we’ll be introducing pacu, a large omnivorous fish related to the piranha that will eat food waste from the restaurant and produce, eh, let’s call it fertilizer for our plants. The plants in turn will clean the fish tank, creating a virtuous cycle that ends in delicious, healthy, super local food. The goal is to reach 800 fish at once, around 2 pounds each. Frankly, considering where we’re located, you’d think it would be impossible to get fish from anywhere closer than Lake Superior—but the farm is only 2 miles from the restaurant and most fish are caught further out than that. Score one for local!