A little Vancity in the Valley

Joel Nagge and Aaron Newson are the principals at Vancity Seafoods.

Hans Peter Meyer

Special to The Record

Food entrepreneurs play an important role in shaping the future of our local  economy. That’s why we’ll be featuring food entrepreneurs from our “local food business incubator, the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market – like Vancity Seafoods.

Who is Vancity Seafoods?

Joel Nagge and Aaron Newson are the principals at Vancity Seafoods. At the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, however, it’s Aaron’s mom Kella-Lee Newson, and Joel’s wife Tatiana Baron, who are the face of the business. You’ll see them every week as long as supplies last, selling their specialty product: fresh frozen spot prawns.

While Joel and Aaron grew up around fishing, it was a new venture for Tatiana. “I was complaining about my office job in Vancouver,” Tatiana recalls. “Joel said, quit. Join us on the boat.” The decision to leave a desk job, and ultimately to leave Vancouver and settle in the Comox Valley, has been a life-changer for Tatiana.

A passion for sustainable seafood

“I love being out on the ocean,” she says, and she’s passionate about the fishery. It’s providing a livelihood for her family and it’s a sustainable fishery with little or no by-catch (unwanted and unmarketable fish caught by mistake).

Until recently 90 per cent of the spot prawn catch went overseas. That’s changing, and Tatiana sees Vancity Seafoods growing a local market for this international delicacy.

The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market is very important. It gives Tatiana and Kella-Lee first hand access to new customers, and it helps them educate people about this relatively new seafood option.

“If we’re going to grow our share of this fishery the market is one of the best places we can do that.”

The Sunday Cumberland Market

Vancity Seafoods is one of the vendors that is participating in the new Sunday market in Cumberland this summer. Stop by and ask Kella-Lee or Tatiana about B.C.’s famous spot prawns!

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