The Beachcomber

‘Viking Fresh’ a Name Known Near and Far

Jul 14, 2017

Long Beach Island is known for its ability to create visceral summer memories – for its beaches, sunrises and sunsets. But there is more than meets the eye, and it’s happening out at sea.

Barnegat Light’s Viking Village is becoming nationally recognized for providing some of the highest quality scallops across the country. Supported by more than 40 independently owned fishing vessels, Viking Village lands over 2 million pounds of sea scallops per year and supplies not only Long Beach Island and the surrounding area, but also major cities nearby and out west.

“We ship all over the country,” General Manager Ernie Panacek said. “The Viking name has been getting a lot of exposure in San Francisco, Arizona and throughout the Midwest.”

Specializing in “dry” scallops, Viking Village personnel inspect every single scallop for texture, freshness and uniformity, in order to provide exceptional scallops. The scallops are considered “dry” due to the lack of chemical treatments or processing, allowing them to keep their original, as-shucked weight and size.

Traveling throughout Northwest Atlantic waters, Viking Village boats search for scallop beds as far south as North Carolina and up to Newfoundland and the Gulf of Maine.

“Our main goal is to provide a quality product across the board,” Panecek said.

Unlike mussels and clams, scallops lack the ability to fasten their shell shut once caught, making them extremely perishable. Therefore the Village is increasingly reliant on dayboat scallopers for its “Viking Fresh” scallops.

“We can thank the fishermen for getting the highest quality product. They work really hard,” Panacek said.

Fun facts: Distinguishing them from other bivalve mollusks (clams and mussels), scallops swim by quickly opening and closing their shell. The activity strengthens their adductor muscle, the specific part of the scallop that gets consumed. Their ability to swim away from predators combined with their high reproduction rate (up to 270 million eggs during a lifetime) accounts for the high population of scallops throughout the world.  —M.M.

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