The Fish & The Crop


Leafy Greens



Superior Fresh receives new salmon eggs every 2 month. They hatch in the fish house and have and yolk sack and an oil globule that gets absorbed over the next five days.


The newly hatched “fry” go into the smallest fish tank where they are fed a special organic fish food created for Superior Fresh. Over the next 24 months the fish grow to full size. As they grow they are moved into bigger and bigger tanks so they have plenty of room to swim.


Superior Fresh harvests their Atlantic Salmon at about 24 months when they reach 12 pounds. They are prepared and shipped on ice (not frozen) that day to grocery stores throughout the Midwest.

Atlantic Salmon is one of the most consumed seafoods in the United States and the world. To catch enough fish to feed people throughout the world, it has to be farmed. Typical Atlantic Salmon fish farms are in net pens in the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of Norway and Chile. The fish are fed by adding fish food to the water in the net pens. When the fish grow big enough to harvest after about four years, they are frozen and then shipped by boat or flown thousands of miles to America and then sent by truck to different grocery stores across the country.

At Superior Fresh the fish farmers grow Atlantic Salmon in the Fish House which is a three and a half acre building with lots of fish tanks and water filtration systems in it. Every two months new fish eggs arrive at the Fish House and they hatch on site. When they hatch they are very very small, about the size of an eyelash and they have a yolk sack and an oil lobule that their body absorbs in the first four or five days after hatching. After that the small fish – called fry – start eating the organic fish food that Superior Fresh uses. As the fish grow they move into bigger and bigger tanks so they have room to grow.

In nature Atlantic Salmon travel through different temperature waters to grow, then spawn and lay eggs, and then travel back to the ocean. So Superior Fresh controls the temperature in the different fish tanks to be as close to what the fish would experience throughout their life in the wild. The water in the fry tank (the smallest tank for the smallest fish) is usually X degrees Fahrenheit. The water in the tanks gets a little warmer as the size of the tank gets bigger, until in the biggest tank the water is usually 57 – 58 degrees Fahrenheit – the same temperature as the Atlantic Ocean.

Superior Fresh only uses organic fish food, so they have the Non-GMO certification for all the fish they harvest and sell. The facility also has animal welfare certification so that people know that Superior Fresh treats their fish well. The Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch has ranked Superior Fresh Atlantic Salmon as the “best choice” for sustainable practices and for fish that is free of pesticides and other toxic substances. And the fish house has the BAP certification for the best aquaculture practices.

Leafy Greens


Leafy green seedlings with their root systems are “planted” on recyclable Styrofoam board that allow the roots to suspend in water to soak up nutrients.


Board of organic greens are placed in one end of long pools of water that is pumped in from the fish house. Over the next 35 – 39 days the boards will float from one end of the pool to the other as older leafy greens reach maturity and are removed from the pool.


When the leafy greens are ready 35-39 days later, their board will be removed from the pool and placed on a conveyor belt which will then go through the cutter which cuts the lettuces from the boards. The lettuce goes into ready-to-ship containers and the boards are sanitized and then replanted.

One of the things that makes Superior Fresh so different from other land-based fish farms and glass growing houses is that they are connected and create an ecosystem that feeds each other. The water from the fish house is pumped to the glass house and feeds the plants in 140-gallon pools of water. As the plants grow, they take the nutrients from the water and “clean” it, and the clean water gets pumped back to the fish house to go into the fish tanks.

This innovative way of using water for fish to grow in and to provide water and nutrients to leafy greens means that Superior Fresh uses much less water than other fish houses and other indoor plant houses.

Their lettuce is organically grown with 1/30th the amount of water that traditionally farmed lettuces need to grow (for ever 30 gallons of water farmers need to grow lettuce in the ground, Superior Fresh uses just one gallon of water). And because the farm is under glass, they are able to create the perfect growing conditions year-round and use about 1/20th the amount of space that a traditional farm would use to grow the same amount of lettuce.

Superior Fresh grows between 15 and 20 different varieties of leafy greens (lettuces) and herbs all the time. Some of the different leafy greens they grow include organic romaine, arugula, green leaf, green oak leaf, red leaf, butter, pak choi, sorrel, and spinach. The organic leafy greens are grown on reusable biodegradable Styrofoam boards that allow the plant roots to hang in the nutrient-rich water from the fish house. With the water pools under glass, Superior Fresh organic leafy greens grow from seedlings to full size faster than traditionally farmed lettuces. It takes between 35 and 37 days for a Superior Fresh romaine lettuce to grow to full size; on a traditional farm the same lettuce takes between 55 and 65 days to grow.

Historical Timeline


Todd and Karen Wanek co-owners of Superior Fresh started the company in 2015 with president Brandon Gottsacker with the long term vision of changing the way food is grown to be more sustainable and nutritious, while also returning land to its natural state. Water conservation was at the center of the idea, to be able to use water for fish to grow, leafy greens to grow and to provide irrigation for the native plant restoration project.

Need Year

The fish house was built first because the nutrients in the water the fish grow in provide the nutrients the from the fish provide the nutrients for the leafy greens that float in the aquaponic pools to grow. First fish is sold in what year?

Need Year

Phase 2 of the aquaponic green house is built. Expands from XX acres to YY acres under glass, and now grows XX pounds of leafy greens every year, year round. Fish house continues to expand and produces XXX pounds of Atlantic Salmon annually. Superior Fresh expands distribution to AA and BB. Superior Fresh receives the Monterey Bay Aquarium highest designation for safe fish.


Phase 3 of the aquaponic farm is deployed and now there are XX acres of leafy greens grown year round. Fish house production continues to ramp up: Superior Fresh expects to ship 30,000 pounds of Atlantic Salmon per week. Now there are XX acres of restoration underway on the 800 acre property.

From Farm to Table

Whiskey Maple Glazed Salmon

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients Instructions
  • 1 Fillet Superior Fresh Salmon
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 5 Tbsp. whiskey of choice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1. Whisk together maple syrup, whiskey, soy sauce, orange juice, and cayenne pepper. Pour the sauce over the salmon and let sit while you prepare the rest.
  • 2. Heat a medium size skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Reserving marinade, add salmon to the hot skillet, skin side up. Sear for a few minutes, then flip and continue cooking for another few minutes until you’ve reached your desired done-ness. Remove salmon from pan.
  • 3. Reduce the heat, and add the whiskey mixture to the pan. Simmer until thickened.
  • 4. Pour sauce over salmon immediately prior to serving with Organic Midwest Medley!

Distribution Map