Food NI member company Ewing’s, Northern Ireland’s leading and award winning fishmongers, has expanded its production capacity to meet soaring sales of smoked salmon. The company, based on the Shankill Road in Belfast, has created and kitted out a modern smoker in place of the kiln which has been used in curing and smoking salmon, cod and haddock for almost a century.
Ewing’s counts Sainsbury’s and many other high-end outlets among clients for smoked salmon and cod which have won major awards. It is also the prime supplier of organic salmon and other fresh seafood to more than 300 of Northern Ireland’s high-end restaurants. In addition, organic salmon smoked by Ewing’s has been used at high profile events in Britain and exported worldwide.
Director of the family-owned and managed business Crawford Ewing says the company has seen growing demand for its organic salmon in particular because of its outstanding flavour made the decision to invest in a new smoker a “no brainer”.
“While we were reluctant to move from our historic smoker which has been at the core of our business for almost century we needed a significant increase in capacity to maintain existing customers as well as many others seeking the salmon,” he says.
“Demolishing the old smoker was still a bit traumatic also emotional because of the many decades of smoke and, of course, history in its walls,” adds Mr Ewing.
While the old smoker has given way to a new development also on the company’s historic Belfast factory and shop, Ewing’s retains its longstanding and unique curing recipe and continues to smoke slowly over oak and beech wood chips. The slow curing and smoking process takes around a week.
The new smoker, designed to the highest hygiene standards but is still recreating the traditional methods also features a purpose-designed high care packing facility. The site of the old kiln is being developed into a vast freezer to support additional production in line with the growing demand for its products.
The company sources premium salmon from Northern Ireland and Scotland and has developed attractive smoked salmon packs for retail as well as supplying fresh, chilled and frozen seafood for foodservice.
Ewing’s has been sourcing, processing and supplying fish and other seafood from its Belfast premises since 1911.
The company has also won a string of national accolades for the outstanding quality of its cured fish. It has won UK Great Taste Awards for its organic salmon and a listing in the Top 50 Foods in 2014 for its lightly smoked cod loin. It currently employs 29 people in its shop and nearby processing plant. The premium organic smoked salmon was again endorsed in this year’s Great Taste Awards.