AUSTIN, Texas (June 20, 2005) Summertime is the right time for creating flavorful dishes ready in minutes, and Whole Foods Market can help with its seafood selection that is more varied than ever. Whether it's a sweet sautéed tilapia fillet topped with a fresh roasted corn and cherry tomato relish for a quick and easy lunch or a refreshing grilled tuna ni?oise salad drizzled with a tarragon vinaigrette that is sure to impress friends at a dinner party on a warm night, seafood and summertime are a winning pair for simple, high protein meal solutions.

  Seafood consumption in the United States continues to increase , but according to a recent study conducted for the United States Department of Agriculture — restaurants are the top spot for seafood lovers to enjoy fish instead of at home, meaning shoppers are intimidated by purchasing, handling, and preparing seafood.

To debunk the myth that seafood is difficult to prepare at home, Whole Foods Market hopes to embolden shoppers with its summer “School of Fish” campaign that gives basic tips on selecting and preparing quality seafood. Stores from coast to coast will offer complimentary brochures containing descriptions of the most popular cooking methods for seafood and recipes rated by ease of preparation: easy, intermediate, and advanced. In addition, the health benefits of seafood and a seafood guide that helps find preferred flavors and textures are included.

Savoring Seafood is a Healthy Option

Not only are fish and shellfish quick and easy to prepare, they are a healthy choice as well. The new USDA Food Pyramid and the American Heart Association both recommend eating fish at least twice a week. “Seafood is generally low in saturated fat, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and offers one of the quickest ways to serve your family a delicious, high quality protein meal in a matter of minutes,” said nutrition expert and Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Walter Willett, M.D.

Quality and knowledge at Whole Foods Market have gone hand in hand for 25 years. “By selecting seafood at Whole Foods Market, shoppers can be assured they are getting the highest quality, freshest seafood available in the marketplace,” said Whole Foods Market National Seafood Buyer Dick Jones.

The Whole Foods Market Seafood Advantage

Whole Foods Market's major advantage over other seafood retailers is the speed at which fish and shellfish travel from the fishing dock to its stores. Because Whole Foods Market owns and operates three of its own seafood processing facilities, the freshest, highest quality seafood with the quickest turnaround is guaranteed. “With boats that fish just for us, we can immediately prep and ship the catch of the day from the shoreline to your shopping cart in record time,” said Jones.

This summer, Whole Foods Market presents a stunning selection of both familiar and specialty fish and shellfish that are easy and fast to cook. Knowledgeable fish mongers are on call as emissaries to suggest simple preparation tips and delectable recipe ideas.

“There is a marked difference in our Team Members who handle seafood — from their awareness, knowledge of origin, and even the way the case is laid out — you can tell there is better training and a real connection to the seafood,” said Former Restaurant Owner and Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Regional Culinary Development Team Leader Stan Frankenthaler. “The advice I give is to keep cooking techniques simple. Seafood takes to many different flavors, seasonings, and fresh herbs. Simple broiling or a straightforward sauté while keeping the heat up — that is how you get great restaurant quality results at home in minutes.”

Committed to Seafood Sustainability

As a company founded on core values that include taking care of our planet, Whole Foods Market has a history of seeking out the best environmental seafood choices. One way the world's leading natural and organic food supermarket promotes sustainability is its support of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Whole Foods Market was the first retailer in the United States to offer MSC-certified seafood bearing the blue and white MSC logo to give shoppers an easy way to make educated choices about the seafood they take home to their families.

“We invite shoppers to take advantage of the amazing bounty of wild Alaska salmon this summer. Whole Foods Market will carry wild salmon during its natural harvest seasons, which generally means King and Sockeye in the early part of the season and Coho in the latter part of the season,” said Jones. “While fresh fish is hard to beat, Whole Foods Market has a very successful frozen wild Alaska salmon program so shoppers can rest assured they are helping support sustainable fisheries year-round.”

Frozen/pressroomre-packaged Seafood Makes Seafood Easy

In addition, Whole Foods Market's Whole Catch™ house brand offers convenience, value, and year-round availability of MSC-certified products such as wild Alaskan salmon burgers, smoked salmon (traditional, eastern spice, and Asian), sockeye salmon fillets, and lightly breaded New Zealand hoki fish nuggets, fillets, and fish sticks.

Other easy to prepare Whole Catch™ offerings include halibut, cod, mahi mahi, and swordfish fish fillets, lightly breaded fish fillets, fish sticks, fish nuggets, tuna burgers, and shrimp (raw, cooked, and in rings).

“One of the big misconceptions about frozen seafood is that it's somehow of a lesser quality than fresh fish. Nowadays, there are freezers on most boats, and, in most cases, fish are flash frozen within a few hours of being caught,” said Jones. “From our tuna burgers ready to toss on the grill to peeled, deveined raw shrimp perfect for a quick stir fry, our frozen specialties help put a tasty, healthful dinner on the table in a flash.”

NOTE: For delectable seafood recipes and photos to accompany them, B-roll with Alaska salmon harvesting/fishing, and Whole Foods Market seafood counters or to request an interview, please contact Ashley Hawkins.