Springhills Fish: Local a-fish-ionados
The story of Springhills Fish in Hanover dates back to the 1980’s when Jim and Lynnette Taylor purchased a fly fishing club with a spring-fed creek and a dream to build a fish farm on the property. Fast forward to today, their children Arlen and R.J., who grew up working on the farm, are now at the helm and running a successful family business.
I always like to know the stories behind my food, including how the food is produced and where it comes from, and that is one of the reasons that I love Springhills. They are passionate about education, from their special media presence, to their website, to the farm itself which has signage posted for self-guided tours, Springhills wants you to know about how your fish are raised.
Like any food producer, fish farms can have both higher and lower standards of practice and Springhills was the first land-based farm in central Canada to get certified by the Best Aquaculture Practices program which holds them to the highest international standard for environmental impact, fish welfare, and social responsibility. That means that they follow strict guidelines for how fish are cared for, how clean the water is, and the quality of their food. This certification was followed shortly after by Ocean Wise certification for sustainability. Additionally, their wild-caught pickerel is eco-certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and all of their boxes and vacuum bags are recyclable too!
At the beginning, they primarily sold their fingerlings to other farmers, but they soon started to run pop-ups at markets in neighbouring communities selling their trout fillets. Then Covid hit, and like many small businesses, they were hit hard, with more fish then they knew what to do with, and nowhere to sell them. That’s when the idea for delivery was born, a program that has now expanded to much of Central Ontario. Also, just this year, their products are o-fish-ally being carried around the province in Sobeys and Metro Stores, helping them realise their dream of making local fish accessible to all. In keeping with that dream, they also regularly donate their products to local food banks, the folks at Springhills really walk the talk.
I recently visited the farm and saw first hand how their rainbow trout, Arctic char and coho salmon are raised sustainably on their spring-fed properties in Grey County. They also partner with like-minded independent fisher people in different areas of Canada to stock other products including Lake Erie Pickerel and Newfoundland coldwater shrimp.
Lastly, when buying direct from smaller family businesses like Springhills, the consumer gets a high quality product for 20-30% less cost, with more proceeds going directly to the farmers and fishers. It's a win-win!
So next time you go to grab that imported fish from the store, be sure to check for Springhills or even better, visit their website to order for delivery right to your home!