Port Hardy is the gateway to the scenic Inside and Discovery Coast Passage. It is located on the northern tip of Vancouver Island nestled between the coastal waters and the forested wilderness. It has a friendly and hospitable population of 4,500. Port Hardy is a great destination to discover outdoor adventures and the rich First Nations culture in the area. No visit to Port Hardy would be complete without a taste of locally caught seafood at Hardy Buoys.
Hardy Buoys is one of the biggest business operations in the town of Port Hardy. The huge smoked salmon facility provides jobs for many people in the community. One of my favorite parts of being a TV host is going behind the scenes on my adventures. I had a blast getting a hands-on experience on how this famous smoked salmon is made.
Before I started my hands-on tour, I had to be hygienically prepared. I placed clean plastic booties over my boots, put on a white lab coat, plastic apron, plastic sleeves and to top it off, a flattering hair net. Each new area I went into, I stepped in a bin containing a disinfectant solution.
First, I went into the receiving area where they had iceboxes of fish waiting to be cut up and de-boned. I had the experience of beheading the fish, lopping off the tail and then pushing it through a filleting machine. The assembly line of employees would then trim the edges away, de-bone, skin, and then cut the fish into strips.
The second step was to place the salmon strips into a machine that cut it into nugget chunks. They placed the salmon pieces into a marinade bin which contains their special brine recipe of brown sugar and salt. Then they placed these nuggets on trays and moved them into the cooler. After the marinating, the salmon chunks were moved into either the hot or cold smoker, giving it its distinctive cedar flavor. The salmon will stay in the hot smoker for up to 8 hours, with the temperature reaching up to 190 F or 88 C.
The final step was in the packaging area where the workers distribute the salmon into packages, saran wrap it and then pack them into cardboard boxes. Voila, they are now ready to be shipped out. What has started out as a small family company has now turned into a world-renowned company, shipping and supplying their tasty treats all over the world.
Another thing I love about my adventures is getting to taste test samples of goodies. I did not have a shortage of smoked salmon. Tasty, tasty, tasty, there were so many flavors to choose from: Indian Candy, Original Candied Smoked, Dressed Up, Natural Smoked, Cracked Peppercorn, Cajun Spiced, and Garlic Smoked Salmon. My favorite one was the Cracked Peppercorn Smoked Salmon. The great thing about their ingredients is that they do not use liquid smoke, preservatives, chemicals or dyes. Instead they use simple and natural ingredients like sugar, salt and alder wood chips. Taste without compromise!
9300 Trustee Road
Port Hardy, British Columbia
Phone: 1 (877) 949-8781www.hardybuoys.com