The call is out for products for Alaska’s biggest seafood bash: the Alaska Symphony of Seafood.
The annual competition, now in its 28th year, debuts a wide array of new Alaska seafood items at venues in Seattle and Juneau. Seafood lovers get to sample all the products that are privately judged in several categories. And as part of its expansion plans, more have been added.
“However, this year, we moved forward to expand the product categories to feature whitefish and salmon categories in addition to food service, retail and Beyond the Plate.”
Riley Smith is communications director with the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, host of the Symphony. The event also has added a special platform for Bristol Bay.
“Additionally, we expanded the special awards category to include a Bristol Bay Choice which will be awarded by BBRSDA to the best sockeye salmon product. And including that will be promotional and marketing support from the BBRSDA team.”
Smith says partnering with the fishermen-funded and operated Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association will help Symphony winners grow their promotions and marketing. The Bristol Bay model has seen its sockeye salmon sales expand to over 2,000 U.S. retail and other outlets in just a few years.
One of the best things about the Symphony competition is that it levels the playing field between the biggest seafood producers and the smallest mom and pop’s. Last year Bullwhip Hot Sauce, by Barnacle Foods of Juneau, for example, was a triple winner at retail, the Juneau People’s Choice and the overall Grand Prize.
“A really special part of the event is an even playing field. And we have companies big and small entering this competition and our winners reflect that.”
All top winners get a trip to the big Seafood Expo in Boston in March and entry into its national competition.
Product entries for this year’s Symphony competition are due by October 6.
They will be judged in late November and top winners will be announced at Pacific Marine Expo in early December. The Symphony then replays in Juneau where more winners are announced.
Smith says it is an unknown if Expo or the Symphony events are upended by the Covid virus, but no matter what, the show will go on.
“Absolutely, the show will go on and there will be a judging and there will be awards, and there will be promotions to retail associated with the Symphony.”
Find Alaska Symphony of Seafood entry forms at www.afdf.org