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Farm Spotlight: AVRAMAR

May 20, 2024

Set sail on the Mediterranean 

With picturesque landscapes and rich history, the Mediterranean is home to a colorful culture and well-known healthy diet. This region’s staple? Fish.  

Fish farming, otherwise known as aquaculture, has been a facet of this region for thousands of years. AVRAMAR, the world’s largest producer of Mediterranean fish, has been working to support the Mediterranean from overfishing for over four decades.

As an ASC certified farm, AVRAMAR works as a global leader in practicing responsible aquaculture.

Our team spoke with Alexandros Fthenakis, AVRAMAR’s Vice President of Sales , North America, to learn more about the history and importance of Mediterranean aquaculture, ASC certification and the iconic Greek Sea Bass, popularly known as Branzino. 

It turns out Fthenakis was the perfect person to talk to. “My journey in the seafood industry mirrors AVRAMAR‘s venture into the North American market,” he mentioned. With a background in the European seafood market along with Greek heritage, Fthenakis is excited to focus on new challenges and successes in the U.S.

Now let’s dive in.

Deep sea-ted roots

AVRAMAR was officially established in 2019, formed by uniting four independently owned operations who have been farming in the region for over 40 years. Today, the farmers who helped pioneer aquaculture in the region now work with AVRAMAR to sustain traditions while paving the way for innovation.  

“Mediterranean aquaculture is an industry with over four decades of experience and ongoing refinement,” says Fthenakis. AVRAMAR and the people behind the fish represent the combined expertise and passion from aquaculture practices in the Greek and Spanish waters. AVRAMAR engages with employees in decision-making, listens to ideas and opinions, as well as empowers them to lead events.  

AVRAMAR’s dedication towards maintaining the Mediterranean lifestyle and the facets that shape it are clear from the company’s mission statement: The seafood traditions of Greece and Spain are firmly rooted in a deep respect for our seas, our fish, and for our planet.”

A world-famous diet fed through responsible aquaculture

The decision to become ASC certified was no question for AVRAMAR. The foundations of the fresh and rich Mediterranean diet and the evolving practice of responsible fish farming come together to work in harmony with nature – to provide seafood that’s good for you, and the planet, too. 

Fthenakis shares, “Our mission to bring the Mediterranean to tables around the world is embedded in every aspect of our activities. By actively advocating for the Mediterranean diet, AVRAMAR aligns itself with a culinary tradition celebrated for its health benefits and holistic approach to well-being.” 

In 2019, AVRAMAR became the first farm worldwide to achieve the ASC standard for Sea Bass and Sea Bream. By having all their farms and operations ASC certified, AVRAMAR meets the highest global standards for aquaculture production. Fthenakis reflects that earning ASC certification showcases “an unwavering commitment to responsible aquaculture practices and a determined ambition to set industry benchmarks.” 

“It’s crucial for consumers to recognize that certified responsible aquaculture minimizes its environmental footprint while delivering high-quality seafood.

“By upholding rigorous environmental and social criteria, certifying our farms with globally recognized responsible aquaculture standards stands as an integral part of our business strategy”, notes Fthenakis 

From environmental impact and employee wellbeing to habitat and quality control for their farms, AVRAMAR prioritizes partnerships and initiatives that hold them accountable and work as pathways for a better future.

A staple in the kitchen and the community 

AVRAMAR is inherently tied to the culture that makes it, which means they work to serve the communities they operate in.  

“Mediterranean aquaculture plays a vital role in supporting local economies and communities, creating stable jobs, and fostering economic growth even in the most remote regions.” 

How does AVRAMAR build and maintain a relationship with its surrounding community? 

“Through strategic partnerships with esteemed organizations AVRAMAR champions healthy, sustainable eating practices on a global scale. Events such as the Tomorrow Tastes Mediterranean Conference in Barcelona and collaborations with culinary institutions like the Torribera Mediterranean Center (TMC) underscore AVRAMAR’s commitment to advancing the Mediterranean diet and fostering a sustainable food system.

“By sponsoring educational programs, conferences, and research initiatives, AVRAMAR actively contributes to shaping the future of food consumption.” From hosting masterclasses for fish preparation to developing student scholarships, AVRAMAR works to promote culinary skills and nutritional education within the community.  

The bold and delectable Branzino 

Through the influence of Italian cuisine and cooking traditions, most Americans refer to Greek Sea Bass as Branzino. A delicious, flaky white fish that hails from the pristine blue waters of the Mediterranean.  

 “Branzino emerges as a culinary icon revered for its delicate flavor and adaptability…its sleek silver skin and elongated body evoke a sense of elegance and its status as a prized seafood remains unwavering. 

“Farmed Branzino, nurtured in the temperate climates of the Mediterranean, ensures a sustainable alternative without compromising on taste or quality. When it comes to taste and texture, Branzino’s allure knows no bounds.”  

From Fthenakis’ description, it’s apparent that Branzino is considered to be one of the most succulent of all Mediterranean seafood. If you need more convincing, Branzino has “subtly sweet flavor, reminiscent of its oceanic habitat” and pairs excellently with your favorite ingredients, seasoning, salts and spices.  

Rich in flavor and history, “Branzino’s versatility transcends borders, leaving an indelible mark on cuisines around the world. As a symbol of sustainability and gastronomic excellence, Branzino stands apart, enticing North American shoppers with a tantalizing blend of flavor, ethics, and culinary possibility.” 

Best way to serve up this fish? There’s an ocean of possibilities. Whether grilled, roasted, pan-seared, or steamed, there’s many avenues to take. For Fthenakis, it’s rather simple: “My ultimate indulgence with Greek Sea Bass involves grilling it to perfection, accentuated by a delicate drizzle of lemon juice and a medley of Mediterranean herbs. Paired alongside a crisp Greek salad and a chilled glass of white wine, this culinary ensemble embodies the essence of Mediterranean living. The beauty lies in its simplicity – allowing the fish’s natural flavors to take center stage, resulting in a delectably satisfying meal. It’s a ritual I savor, relishing the moments of preparation and anticipation, and one I find myself eagerly repeating time and time again.” 

Find recipes like Branzino with caper pesto and Branzino with red pepper relish on our website or head to https://avramar.eu/ for more Mediterranean delicacies!  

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