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Vendor Spotlight: Thomas Persinger, Wild Alaska Salmon and Seafood

Thomas Persinger, a Chattanooga native, has been seasonally working in Alaska since 2008. In 2008, he began to work for Alaska's Fishing Unlimited, a fishing lodge located in the Bristol Bay area. After four years of guiding sport fishing trips, he became a pilot for them in 2011. He was able to watch the swift rivers that flowed into the actual bay, and he became fascinated with watching the salmon that migrated annually into the river systems. "It is hard to describe what millions of fish look like as they make their way into the natal spawning grounds," he says, "It could really be considered one of the great wonders of the world." His love for fishing only grew, and between the years 2014 to 2016, he became immersed into the local food scene. "I was attending farmers markets, sourcing and distributing local produce, and generally working within our local food economy." His passion for local, healthy produce and connection to its source is what led him back to Alaska. "I became involved with Wild Alaska Salmon and Seafood after a friend introduced me to Tony Wood, the owner and entrepreneur who started Wild Alaska Salmon and Seafood in 2000." Persinger explains that Wild Alaska Salmon and Seafood is the only independent operator in the Bristol Bay area. The salmon are loaded and processed at the processing facility in King Salmon, Alaska, then are shipped to the distribution center that is located in the Midwest. "The salmon of Bristol bay only migrate to their natal streams during June and July. For those few weeks every summer, I go to Alaska and help Tony catch these salmon, and then I spend the rest of the year attending farmers markets and introducing the rest of the lower 48 to what salmon should actually look and taste like." Come out to the West Homewood Farmer's Market to get a taste of the salmon that everyone is raving about!

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