Raised in cold waters from natural springs underground, Plymouth farm's rainbow trout can soon be bought at downtown shop
Correction: Due to incorrect information provided by Plymouth Springs Fish Co. this article previously misstated the source of the water in the trout ponds. The water comes from a natural spring underground.
PLYMOUTH - Business is bubbling for Plymouth Springs Fish Co. with its plans to open a processing facility with retail space on Eastern Avenue in Plymouth that will provide locally grown rainbow trout and salmon to the community.
Benches will line the big picture windows that make up the front of the new retail space, and there will be multiple coolers to store smoked and fresh salmon and trout that will be available for sale. Customers will be able to walk in and purchase fish or place orders online.
The fish will be sold frozen because the company believes that preserves the freshest taste, according to Heather Cleveland, operations director.
"I'm excited to promote fish in the community and promote good food in the community," said Cleveland, who attended a farm-to-table cooking school in Ireland.
Off the processing area in the back of the building, they plan to build an addition to house their smokers. It will be big enough to hold two smokers, but they plan to start with one and expand as demand does. They hope to start processing fish at the location in the first quarter of 2020.
The retail space, with an anticipated opening of spring, is also expected to have some grab-and-go items, as Cleveland described them, made from recipes that use their locally grown fish. In the summer, they hope to add outdoor seating along the front of the building.
To reach even more corners of the community, they hope to sell to grocery stores and restaurants in the area.
The farm at which Plymouth Springs Fish Co. grows the rainbow trout sits at the bottom of a hill in the town of Plymouth. It's supplied with water that travels through the ground and into the five-pond farm on County Road Z.
Bob Loritz has lived next door to the farm for over 20 years and is its project manager. He said the water comes out cold, making it perfect for raising rainbow trout. Other desirable fish for consumption, like perch or walleye, can get sluggish or not eat enough in such conditions.
The ponds cascade, meaning water from the pond highest on the hill flows down to the one below it, and so on. Loritz estimated that the whole farm can hold 40,000 fish between the different stages. As the fish grow and mature, they travel from the smaller ponds at the top of the hill to the bigger ones at the bottom.
Rather than transferring the fish to tanks to move them from one pond to the next, Loritz fashioned a mechanism with a funnel and a sump pump to help the water and fish move from pond to pond.
"It's kinda like a waterslide," Loritz said.
Plymouth Springs Fish Co. has five ponds on its property, and they run from one end of the property down to the other end along a gradual slope. That count excludes a few smaller gatherings of water that aren't part of the sequence that the fish travel through.
"I think this is what sets us apart is that we raise our own fish," Cleveland said. "In addition to processing it."
The new facility will process the rainbow trout, along with fish from a farm in Minnesota that Grant Johnson, owner of Plymouth Springs Fish Co., recently acquired.
They are looking at other fish farms in Wisconsin or Minnesota to raise other types of fish, as well. Locally, they hope to lease other ponds in Plymouth to expand their farm here and raise more trout.
The new processing and retail space will be located at 633 Eastern Ave.
Reach AnnMarie Hilton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @hilton_annmarie.