Mama Nibbles: Michigan Harrietta Hills Trout Farm

Michigan Harrietta Hills Trout Farm

michigan trout farm

This spring I toured the family owned Harrietta Hills Trout Farm in the small village of Harrietta, Michigan.  Harrietta Hills is one of Michigan's largest privately owned trout farms.  This particular fish farm has recently been environmentally verified and I believe there is only one other fish farm in MI that can boast the same.  This trout farm is right in the beautiful National Manistee Forest.  The farm specializes in rainbow trout, brook trout, and brown trout. 

Son & Father - Dan and Jim Vogler
It was very apparent upon meeting and talking with Jim that he held a deep passion for what he does. His family lives right on the farm and they home school their children.  Dan's family bought the trout farm back in 2001.  They planned to run the farm the same way it had been run for fifty years.  The farm produced fish for stocking lakes and streams for sport fishing.  In 2006 federal regulators suddenly made what they were doing illegal.  It came as a blow to the family but it also changed the business for the better.

The family had to make a change and they did successfully in 2009 when they started producing fish for food.  The farm found Superior Foods to do their processing and distribution.  Now the farm can take their fish anywhere they wished for it to sell. 

Currently some small restaurants and Spartan Stores carries their delicious trout.  I am really hoping that Meijer will soon be added to that list too.  Local is best and freshest, especially when it comes to fish. 

One of the ponds that the fish do their growing in
Trout well on their way to getting big enough to be on someone's table someday soon
Fresh rainbow trout fillet
Dan grilling fresh trout
My delicious lunch complete with homemade coleslaw and cheesy potatoes!
I had a really fun time learning about the farm and seeing the grounds.  We saw several young bald eagles flying around and the farm is simply gorgeous this time of year.  At the end of our tour, Dan made a lunch of grilled trout for everyone.  The fish was phenomenal and the skin very tasty with a very clean flavor.  All Dan did was drizzle on some olive oil, a bit of salt & pepper and then tarragon.  You put flesh side down first for 4 minutes or so then flip to the skin side for a few more, easy!

The grilled fish reminded me of family vacations when I was a little girl.  My dad would take us fishing so early in the morning and we would catch rainbow trout, bluegills and sunfish.  My dad would clean the fish we'd caught, flour and season them then fry in some butter or oil.  It just doesn't get any better than fresh and local!

The Harrietta Hills Trout Farm website with recipes and info: http://harriettatrout.com/home

What's your favorite fish recipe?
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