Michelle Dockins was living in Durango, Colo., and planning to start a career in public health when she met Micah Ess, a second-generation fisherman. They knew each other for just a few months when Ess invited Dockins to go to Alaska for salmon fishing season.
She said yes, but when she got up there, she was surprised. "I went, ‘Why in the world did I think I could commercial fish?’ I was born and raised in Colorado," Dockins says. "I was learning the difference between port and starboard on the fly!"
Seven years later, Dockins and Ess are married and they have a start-up fish business out of their house in Paonia, Colo. Every Tuesday in August they are selling frozen salmon filets and smoked salmon at the Glenwood Springs Downtown Farmer's Market.
It's one of Colorado's 156 farmer’s markets, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which also says demand for farmers' markets is growing nationwide. Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner talks with Dockins and Ess as part of a new series of interviews called, "From Fish to Focaccia," about Coloradans who create food for these markets.
Recipe: Grilled Copper River Sockeye Salmon with Grilled Sweet Corn and Peach Salsa
From Michelle Dockins and Micah Ess
2 (1/2-to 3/4 lb) Sockeye fillet portions
2 ears sweet corn
1 med peach (not too ripe), diced
bunch sweet basil or cilantro, chopped
handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 jalepeno or other hot pepper, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lime juice
Peel back husk of corn and soak in cold water with 1 Tbs salt for 15 minutes. Then grill on high heat, turning often for about 15 minutes until done, remove and let cool.
Combine everything except the fish and the corn to make the salsa. Once the corn cools, cut it from cob and add it to the salsa mix, then refrigerate.
Over high heat, place sockeye fillet flesh down on clean, oiled grill for about three minutes. Flip to skin side to finish (about 3-4 more minutes) Cut each portion in half, plate with several heaping tablespoons of salsa over the fillet. Serves 4.